If you’ve developed a bulging disc, starting treatment right away is most likely the best course of action. Neck and back pain — especially when severe — can make it difficult to focus on work or school, and the discomfort can become more pronounced over time. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should start looking for a surgeon and getting ready to undergo a complex operation. Many people are able to successfully manage their bulging disc symptoms with simple, at-home treatments, such as ibuprofen, short-term rest and applications of heating pads and cold compresses. The sooner you start exploring your options, the sooner you’ll be able to find out what works best for you.
Conservative options for bulging disc treatment
When you first begin working with a physician to manage your bulging disc-related symptoms, you’ll likely be encouraged to try various combinations of the following nonsurgical treatment options:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Analgesic pain lotions
- Heat therapy, cold therapy or a combination of both
- Strategic short-term rest
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Physical therapy sessions
With a variety of options to explore in each of these categories, it’s quite likely that you’ll find a combination of treatments that helps keep your symptoms under control. If you need further relief, you can also talk with your physician about prescription painkillers, muscle relaxants or epidural steroid injections.
When surgery might become an option
If, after several months of conservative bulging disc treatment, you find that you’re still experiencing significant pain that’s interfering with your daily life, you may wish to look into your surgical options. Some people are candidates for minimally invasive surgery, giving them an alternative to a traditional operation.
At USA Spine Care, our minimally invasive bulging disc surgery is often the clinically appropriate first choice when compared to open neck or back surgery, offering a potentially shorter recovery time and a lower risk of infection. To learn more about your options for bulging disc treatment, contact us today and request information about our outpatient procedures.