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How to care for a bulging disc

A bulging disc can sometimes be painful. When discomfort occurs, it is often related to spinal nerve compression. Because the discs are situated very close to the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots, a damaged disc can easily press on a spinal nerve. A compressed nerve can produce a variety of symptoms, such as localized and radiating pain, numbness, burning sensations and muscle weakness. Caring for a bulging disc usually centers on addressing these symptoms as the damage heals.

There are a number of ways to care for a bulging disc. Because there is no single treatment that works well for everyone, it’s best to keep an open mind and explore all available options, beginning with the most conservative therapies and progressing to more invasive methods as needed.

Home remedies for a painful bulging disc

Mild-to-moderate bulging disc symptoms can often be effectively treated at home. For instance, a physician may suggest starting with:

  • A heating pad, adhesive heat wrap or warm whirlpool bath — which can help relieve painful muscle spasms
  • Specific exercises — performed regularly to stretch and strengthen the core, back and abdominal muscles that support the spine
  • Relaxation and meditation — to reduce mental stress, which can intensify physical pain
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers — and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) taken as directed

If further relief is needed, a physician may recommend chiropractic manipulation, which can shift some painful pressure away from a bulging disc, or an epidural steroid injection, which delivers anti-inflammatory medication directly to the source of the pain.

Surgical remedies for a bulging disc

Spine surgery may be appropriate for addressing bulging disc symptoms that continue to worsen, do not respond sufficiently to conservative treatment or involve progressive neurological decline. If you’ve reached the point that you are seriously considering surgical treatment for your bulging disc symptoms, contact USA Spine Care. Our team can answer your questions and provide a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive surgery, which is a clinically appropriate alternative to open neck or back surgery.

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