So you have been told by your doctor that you need treatment for a bulging disc. Now your left wondering do you need lots of treatment, what kind of treatment, can you do treatment by yourself or do you need a healthcare professional like a doctor, physical therapist or a chiropractor?
The answer depends on how bad the disc condition is. Let me explain below the most common three treatment options used for a bulging disc pain.
Table of Contents
Bulging Disc Treatment Options
First Line Bulging Disc Treatment
Typically non-invasive treatment is used for a bulging disc pain.
This type of conservative treatment could include:
- Waiting for time to heal the pain. It is said low back pain or neck pain episodes can resolve on their own from 2 weeks to several months.
- Hands-on treatment like physical therapy, osteopathy or chiropractic. One of these practitioners might use ultrasound, interferential current, low level laser therapy, cryotherapy, spinal manipulation, mobilisation, muscle massage, trigger point therapy etc…
- Pain medication which could be prescribed by your doctor or just over the counter pain killers and anti-inflammatories.
- Back brace which can help to stabilize the area.
- Lumbar support cushion when sitting to help improve the natural lordosis curvature.
- Light exercise like short distance walking or swimming. Maybe some specific rehabilitation exercises prescribed by your therapist to strengthen your core muscle group. Look further down the page for more examples of easy to do exercises.
- Inversion therapy using an inversion table to decompress the discs or seeing a practitioner who uses a DRX900 decompression table.
Second Line Bulging Disc Treatment
This is when your bulging disc is not giving you pain relief using the above treatments:
- Facet joint infiltration injection which basically is a steroid injection into the spinal joint. As mentioned before about degenerative disc disease typically you get degenerative joint disease with it. The joint might be too inflamed causing pain signals.
- Epidural spinal injection using a cocktail of drugs to reduce swelling around the disc and around the nerve root leaving the spine. This would be done under your physician supervision and referral.
Third Line Bulging Disc Treatment
When the small minority of people have not responded to the first two bulging disc treatment plans or if they are having signs of deteriorating nerve pressure causing what neurosurgeons call “nerve fallout” then spinal surgery is an option:
- Discetomy either a lumbar discetomy or cervical discetomy,
- Spinal fusion again either lumbar spinal fusion or cervical spinal fusion,
- Artificial disc replacement where a neurosurgeon inserts a complete new artificial disc.
Thankful only a small percentage of people with a bulging disc pain will not need to get to the third treatment option of spinal surgery.
Probably 80-90% of people with a bulging disc pain will get pain relief without surgery on their backs.
Easy Bulging Disc Exercises
Have you heard that exercise is good for bulging disc conditions? So you now know which type of disc injury you have and have been told by your doctor that you have a bulging disc or herniated disc causing your low back or neck pain. They have told you that the best way to treat you back pain or neck pain is without surgery and needs a conservative approach.
So your doctor prescribed you some pain killers, but they also told you exercise is important in treating your pain. Today I wanted to look at some simple exercises you can do to help a disc pain in your neck or low back.
A bulging disc problem will typically occur in your neck or in your low back. So lets look at how to exercise and move the two different areas of your spine.
Best Neck Bulge Exercises
The lady is doing what is called isometric muscle contractions. So she is tightening her neck muscles without moving her neck. Typically people will have weak muscles in the front of their neck but bending your neck will put more pressure on the disc in your neck. So it is safer to begin with these non-moving isometric contractions of the cervical spine.
Best Low Back Bulge Exercises
In this video you can see a great low back disc herniation exercises called McKenzie exercises also known as extension exercises for the lower back.
You would start off on your tummy and start to introduce a backward bend in your back from your stomach. They idea is to help push the bulging disc in your lumbar spine back to the center of the spine. This should help pull the bulging disc back towards middle and take some of the pressure of the nerve in your spine. This pinched nerve in the lower back can cause left or right leg pain called sciatica. These McKenzie exercises should help take away the sciatica.