There are several factors that can play a role in the development of a bulging disc, and the deterioration that the spine undergoes during the natural aging process is at the top of the list. The spine endures a great deal of daily wear and tear, and the spinal discs, which serve as natural shock absorbers, are subjected to more than their share of abuse. This can cause a normally elastic disc to lose water content and become brittle, making a bulge or rupture more likely. Painful symptoms that require treatment can develop if a bulging disc compresses a nerve root or the spinal cord. If the affected disc is in the cervical spine (neck area), symptoms can appear in the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. If you have a bulging disc in your lumbar spine (lower back area), you may feel discomfort in your lower back, hips, buttocks, legs and feet.
Conservative treatment options for bulging discs
Once the spine becomes more vulnerable to damage, there are additional risk factors that can speed the development of a disc bulge. Being overweight is one, as this can increase the amount of pressure that the spinal discs have to endure on a daily basis. For this reason, shedding excess pounds is one of the most important lifestyle modifications you can make as part of a bulging disc treatment plan. If you want to successfully reduce your symptoms, you will need to decrease the strain on the spine — and thus lessen the nerve compression — while simultaneously building the muscles that are designed to support the spine. Exercising, following a healthy diet, eliminating tobacco and alcohol use and using better posture are additional options that you may need to consider. You may also want to consider trying other conservative treatments such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications,
epidural steroid injections and the use of hot and cold compresses.
When conservative treatment doesn’t produce results
In many cases, losing weight, building muscle tone and following a conservative treatment regimen for several months will produce the desired levels of pain relief. However, if your symptoms don’t show the level of improvement you hoped for, USA Spine Care can provide a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgeries, which are a safer and effective alternative to open spine procedures.
Contact us today if you would like to learn more about our minimally invasive approach to bulging disc treatment.