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Bulging Disc Treatment Options


A bulging disc (also known as a slipped disc or herniated disc) occurs when the soft, gelatinous material inside the spinal disc protrudes from its normal location. This can come about through poor posture, poor nutrition, or a lack of exercise, or it may simply be a result of aging or injury. In many cases, a bulging disc may cause no symptoms at all. However, if the bulging disc presses against the spinal nerves, the results can be a pain that begins in the lower back and radiates down the legs. If you're experiencing pain or a limited range of motion due to a bulging disc, then treatment is definitely in order.

Non-Invasive Bulging Disc Treatments

Bulging disc therapy usually begins with non-invasive treatments. In most cases, the pain or discomfort associated with your bulging disc can be relived by modifying your activities. Physicians and physical therapists can teach you proper body mechanics, such as good posture and proper lifting techniques, so you can avoid causing pain or aggravating your bulging disc further. Medication might be prescribed to control the pain, and techniques such as massage, ultrasound, and exercise can be used to relieve the symptoms. Cortisone injections can reduce swelling and offer temporary relief as well.

If you don't see any significant improvement in your condition within 12 weeks, your physician will usually recommend a more aggressive treatment, such as surgery.

Chiropractic Bulging Disc Treatments

In lieu of surgery for your bulging disc, you may opt for the help of a chiropractor. If you're not exhibiting any extreme symptoms, chiropractic care can provide relief from your bulging disc without the risk of surgery. When treating a bulging disc, most chiropractors use low force spinal manipulation to adjust the vertebrae and reduce or remove the pressure on the spinal nerves. In many cases, this provides relief from the painful symptoms.

As with other non-invasive techniques, more aggressive treatment may be necessary if your condition doesn't improve within 12 weeks. A reputable chiropractor will continually monitor and evaluate your progress during the treatment period.

Surgical Bulging Disc Repair

Open back surgery is the most aggressive means of treating a bulging disc, and should only be attempted once all other options have been exhausted. After a general anesthetic is administered, the physician makes an incision near the bulging disc and removes the protruding material. The goal of surgical repair is to alleviate the pressure on the spinal nerves that is causing discomfort.

Instead of open back surgery, most physicians prefer to employ microdiscectomy spine surgery. The doctor makes a number of small incisions on your back, and then uses a microscope and tiny instruments to remove tissue from the bulging disc. Microdiscectomy spine surgery is much less intrusive than open back surgery, as there is little cutting of the muscle and soft tissue around the spine.

Choosing the Right Bulging Disc Treatment

Ultimately, your best bet is to have your bulging disc diagnosed and treated early on, before the pain (and related problems) escalate. If you're suffering from pain or numbness in your lower back and legs, and you believe the problem might be caused by a bulging disc, consult a medical professional right away and find out which treatment option will work best for you.

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