Disc protrusion is a term that describes a spinal disc that has developed a bulge in its outer wall. This condition is most often caused by a combination of spinal compression and the natural deterioration spinal discs undergo as we age. Normally flexible and rubbery, spinal discs can lose water content and become fragile in individuals over the age of 50. When this happens, pressure on the spine can cause a disc to lose shape and protrude beyond its normal boundaries in the spine. If a damaged disc impacts the spinal cord or a nerve root, pain and other symptoms can radiate along the nerve pathway to other areas of the body.
Medications that can relieve disc pain
Pain and anti-inflammatory medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), will be an important part of any treatment regimen designed to provide disc protrusion pain relief. Once your diagnosis has been confirmed, your physician may recommend:
- Over-the-counter NSAIDs. These medications can reduce the inflammation caused by a disc protrusion, potentially leading to pain relief. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Naproxen (Aleve) are common examples.
- Prescription NSAIDs. Celebrex and Voltaren are two well-known prescription anti-inflammatory medications.
- Acetaminophen. Rather than reduce inflammation, this drug dulls the brain’s perception of pain. Tylenol is an example.
- Oral steroids. These nonnarcotic medications provide powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Muscle relaxants. Tight muscles can worsen the pain caused by a disc protrusion.
Other conservative treatments you may consider include hot and cold therapy, strengthening and stretching exercises and lifestyle adjustments to help you improve your overall spine health.
Is surgery an option?
While many individuals will experience symptom relief through medications and other conservative treatments, you may need to consider surgery if you’ve followed your doctor’s advice for several weeks or months and haven’t found relief from your disc protrusion pain. If surgery has become an option, USA Spine Care can provide a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery. Our procedures use a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques, and many of our patients are up and walking within a few hours of surgery.^
If you would like to learn more about our outpatient decompression and stabilization procedures, contact USA Spine Care today.
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