If you’ve been diagnosed with a bulging disc, treatment will likely begin conservatively, or non-surgically. These treatment methods could help relieve the symptoms that can arise when a bulging disc comes into contact with the delicate neural structures in your spine.
Compression of the spinal cord or one of its nerve roots can occur if a bulging disc or another abnormality blocks the spinal canal or intervertebral foramina. These are passageways in the spine that surround the spinal cord and its nerve roots, respectively. When these passageways become narrowed, this condition is known as spinal stenosis. The narrowing can lead to nerve compression, which often causes pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling that radiate into the extremities.
To help combat these symptoms, patients and their doctors explore a variety of bulging disc treatment options, such as:
- Taking over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which may be helpful in reducing inflammation and combating mild to moderate pain. Common NSAIDs include ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
- Taking doctor-prescribed opioid pain medications, muscle relaxers, or epidural steroid injections to help combat moderate to severe pain.
- Applying cold to the affected area of the spine to help reduce inflammation and numb pain. Conversely, applying heat can promote blood flow and aid in the flushing of inflammation-inducing proteins from the affected area.
- Performing physical therapy exercises as instructed by a medical professional, as they will help to improve muscle flexibility, strengthen core muscles, and elongate the spine, which may temporarily relieve nerve compression symptoms.
- Maintaining proper posture while sitting, standing, and even while lying down to help ensure that spinal components are aligned correctly.
If you’re like the majority of other patients seeking effective bulging disc treatment, you probably won’t need surgery to treat your condition. Surgical intervention is typically reserved for patients who do not respond to several weeks or months of conservative treatments.
Always Consult Your Doctor
Before you begin any bulging disc treatment, it’s important to first check with your doctor. He or she will be able to recommend specific drug dosages, alert you to possible contraindications, and monitor your overall progress.