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Bulging disc treatment — conservative and alternative methods

As you begin to research treatments for a bulging disc, you should consult your physician or spine care specialist to help you find the treatment option that fits your needs and lifestyle.

There are two main categories of treatment options for a bulging disc: conservative, nonsurgical treatment and surgical treatment. Many patients with mild to moderate cases of a bulging disc can often find relief from pain and symptoms, such as muscle weakness and tingling in extremities, through a regimen of conservative treatment. Unless your bulging disc is caused by an injury or accident, your physician will most likely recommend several months of conservative therapy before moving forward with any other treatment options.

Conservative treatments

Conservative treatment is a safe and effective way to treat the symptoms associated with a bulging disc. Since a bulging disc is caused by spine compression, the goal of many conservative therapies is to lengthen the spine to create the appropriate amount of space between the disc and surrounding vertebrae, and also to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine to help relieve some of the pressure placed on the vertebrae and discs.

These goals can be managed through the following methods of conservative treatment:

  • Physical therapy — A physical therapist can work with you to strengthen the muscles in the neck and back, which may help to provide relief. Physical therapy may also entail transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and posture modification techniques.
  • Lifestyle changes — Shedding excess pounds and participating in moderate, low-impact exercise can help to relieve some of the pressure that is being placed on the affected spinal nerve.
  • Chiropractic care — A chiropractor can use spinal manipulation to relieve pressure on the bulging disc by lengthening and aligning the spine.

Conservative treatments can also be combined with other nonsurgical treatments to help increase pain relief. Some of these other treatments include:

  • Medication — Most patients benefit from taking over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), while others may require prescription pain relievers or muscle relaxants.
  • Hot/cold compresses — Alternating between hot and cold compresses can help reduce inflammation and swelling in the spine, thus reducing pressure on the impacted nerve root.

If several months of combined conservative treatment has not offered you any lasting pain relief, you may want to consider a surgical treatment option to treat your bulging disc at the source.

Minimally invasive surgery to treat a bulging disc

If conservative bulging disc treatment fails to provide you with adequate relief, you may want to consider undergoing one of the minimally invasive procedures performed at USA Spine Care.

While the idea of spine surgery may seem scary, we offer a safer and effective approach to spine surgery than traditional open back surgery. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery is performed through a 1-inch incision and removes a small portion of the bulging disc that is impacting the nerve root and causing your pain. For more severe conditions, our minimally invasive stabilization surgery is also performed through a small incision and replaces the bulging disc with a disc implant to reduce pain and stabilize the spine.

Because of our minimally invasive techniques, our surgeries are performed as outpatient procedures in one of our seven world-class surgery centers across the country.

Contact us to learn how our more effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery have helped tens of thousands of patients find meaningful relief from chronic neck and back pain.

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