If you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc, it’s understandable to feel a bit nervous. After all, you’ve been dealing with the symptoms of pain and discomfort for months now, and you are unsure if the treatments your doctor recommended will relieve your pain. While it’s understandable to feel a little anxious about a bulging disc diagnosis, this is a very common condition that affects many adults and typically adults with a bulging disc can find relief from doctor-recommended conservative treatments. To learn more about your bulging disc diagnosis and treatments, read the following article.
How to diagnose a bulging disc
If you are experiencing bulging disc symptoms, visit your doctor right away for an examination. Your symptoms might include pain, tingling, weakness, muscle spasms or numbness, all of which can radiate from the damaged disc into the shoulders, arms or hands, as well as the hips, legs and feet. Physical activity, as well as bending, sneezing, coughing and other movements, may worsen these symptoms.
When diagnosing a bulging disc, your doctor will likely have you undergo a physical exam and evaluate your symptoms. By learning about the specific location of your symptoms, your physician can typically determine the location of the bulging disc. An MRI or CT scan will likely be ordered to confirm the cause of your pain and symptoms so your doctor can begin recommending a treatment plan.
The role of the bulging discs in the spine
Your spinal cord is surrounded and protected by a column of bones known as vertebrae. In between the vertebrae are discs that cushion and absorb shock in the neck and back. These flexible discs that are located between each set of vertebrae have a tendency to change with age. They often lose water content, become rigid and lose elasticity. This deterioration can occur in patients as young as 20 but is much more common with people in their 30s and 40s.
Eventually, the deterioration of a disc can progress to the point that a bulge develops in the disc’s tough outer layer. This bulge can place pressure on a nearby nerve root or the spinal cord itself, which can lead to painful symptoms. In the event that a bulging disc continues to worsen and actually ruptures, this condition is called a herniated disc.
Finding bulging disc treatment options
After a bulging disc diagnosis, your doctor will recommend a series of treatments, often nonsurgical. The most common nonsurgical bulging disc treatments include:
- Pain medication
- Weight management
- Physical therapy
- Low-impact exercises
- Corticosteroid injections
- Pilates or yoga
These conservative treatments often take several weeks or months before lasting relief can be experienced.
When surgical intervention becomes necessary for a bulging disc
If you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc and conservative treatments have failed to bring you relief from your symptoms, please contact USA Spine Care today to learn more about our treatments. Our minimally invasive spine surgeries to treat bulging discs are safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery.^
At USA Spine Care, we have helped more than 75,000 patients recapture their quality of life from spine pain and discomfort, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. Reach out to us today for a free MRI review* to find out if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive bulging disc procedures.