A bulging disc, despite its rather ominous name, is a fairly common affliction that causes back pain in individuals of all ages. It is caused by the weakening in a vertebral disc, which in turn causes the disc to bulge outwards, hence the name. A bulging disc is similar to a herniated disc, with one of the primary differences being that a bulging disc generally occurs gradually while the herniated disc occurs suddenly due to an injury. This occurrence is fairly common, so there are a number of known bulging disc treatment methods available.
The easiest treatment option for a bulging disc is medication. There are a number of pain-killers, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants that are usually effective in combating the pain associated with bulging discs. Cortisone injections into the spinal canal can also be an effective method of combating back pain caused by bulging discs. However, in most cases, these medications only temporarily numb the pain without directly treating the disc, so the pain immediately returns if the medication use is discontinued.
Other methods of bulging disc treatment include physical therapy, spinal decompression, and surgery. All of these cures directly attack and attempt to correct the disc bulge, so if any of these methods are successful, they provide a long term solution to the problem as opposed to the temporary relief provided by medication. However, each of these treatments also involve a considerably more time, effort, and financing than simple medication.
For the most part, there is no standardized treatment for a bulging disc. The treatment options rely on the patient’s condition, the severity of the pain, and the amount of time that the bulging disc has been present. Usually, a doctor will recommend rest, a heating pad, exercise, and the aforementioned medications. For the majority of individuals, this seems to resolve the issue. However, the more severe cases will generally involve a combination of the aforementioned treatments with the worst cases requiring surgery.
Physical Therapy generally involves stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles in the back. When the muscles are strengthened, they are better able to handle the daily stresses imposed upon them by day to day activities. This takes stress off of the afflicted area and provide a measure of relief, which gives the bulging disc more likelihood of healing on its own.
Spinal decompression is another alternative. This option is generally favored because it has a high success rate and is both non-invasive and relatively pain free. Spinal decompression simply involves the patient wearing a belt and lying on a table, which applies pressure to the back’s affected side. This method attempts to push the bulging disc back into its proper place in gradual increments.
Surgery is the final option for the most extreme cases. This usually involves a surgeon using invasive techniques to reinsert the bulging disc into position. It is generally a last resort when all other options have failed.
There is a number of bulging disc treatment options available for anyone who is afflicted with this problem. It is likely that the problem will rectify itself with time and rest, but long sufferers should rejoice in knowing that there are a number of alternatives available if needed.