The decision to undergo bulging disc surgery is a complex one, and many factors can influence your choice. For instance, the degree to which your symptoms are interfering with your daily life can determine if — or when — surgery becomes a potential option. And, while nobody wants to have an unnecessary operation, considering what might happen without surgical treatment can help you put the pros and cons of bulging disc surgery into perspective.
Impact on day-to-day life
Many people who have been diagnosed with a bulging disc find that their symptoms interfere with their day-to-day lives — at least to some degree. The pain, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling can, in some instances, become debilitating. Without effective treatment — be it surgical or nonsurgical — you may experience:
- Trouble focusing at work or school
- Difficulty completing chores or participating in hobbies
- Temporary driving limitations (if you are taking prescription painkillers)
In very rare instances, a bulging disc in the lower back can also lead to a serious condition called cauda equina syndrome, in which bowel and bladder function become compromised. This occurs in only a very small number of cases and requires urgent surgery to prevent long-lasting complications.
It’s difficult to predict how a person will respond to bulging disc surgery, but many people find surgical treatment to be helpful if their symptoms are interfering with their daily lives or if nonsurgical treatments are not producing the desired results. However, your physician will probably encourage you to use several conservative treatments such as medications, physical therapy, injections and exercise before considering operative options.
Alternatives to open surgery
If you are avoiding surgery due to concerns about the potential for a lengthy recovery, high complication rate or long hospital stay, USA Spine Care offers an alternative. Our minimally invasive surgeries are often the clinically appropriate first choice, offering many advantages versus open neck or back surgery. Our outpatient procedures are performed using muscle-sparing techniques and small incisions. To find out if you’re a candidate for bulging disc surgery at USA Spine Care, contact us today.