Implementing a bulging disc treatment plan is often the first step after a diagnosis has been made. The condition can occur when an intervertebral disc protrudes past its normal boundary within the spinal column. A bulging disc may not cause symptoms, but if it happens to impinge upon the spinal cord or a nerve root, symptoms of localized pain and radiating weakness, tingling, numbness, and pain can arise in either the upper or lower limbs. Additionally, the affected disc itself may cause pain if the tiny nerves that innervate the disc become inflamed as a result of the bulging disc. A doctor will usually suggest a combination of non surgical treatments, such as conservative and alternative methods, to treat a symptomatic bulging disc.
Conservative treatment options are generally considered to be the go to methods when it comes to bulging disc treatment. As a result, these methods are recommended most frequently by doctors and spine specialists, and can include:
• Heat and/or cold therapy – Applying ice packs or cold compresses can help to combat inflammation and numb pain. Taking a warm bath or applying a heating pad, on the other hand, can promote blood flow, as well as reduce muscle tension.
• Physical therapy – Physical therapy focuses on helping patients understand and implement proper body mechanics and posture. A physical therapist may also demonstrate exercises that can strengthen muscles to provide added support to the spine, which may relieve some of the pressure that is placed on the affected nerve.
• Low impact exercise – Exercising may seem to be an impossible task when dealing with bulging disc pain, but low impact options, such as walking or swimming, can not only improve a patient’s overall health, but also promote the absorption of nutrients within the intervertebral discs and increase blood flow throughout the spine.
• Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – NSAIDs, such as naproxen and ibuprofen, are frequently recommended as a bulging disc treatment method. These medications help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
The efficacy of alternative bulging disc treatment methods continues to be debated within the medical community, but some patients have found significant pain relief implementing these options. Alternative methods might include:
• Massage – Back and neck massage can not only help to relieve muscle tension, but also promote full body relaxation. Peppermint oil, which has anesthetic properties, can be used during massage to help numb pain.
• Herbal supplements – Herbal supplements, tinctures, and essential oils have been regarded as natural remedies for thousands of years. Bulging disc pain may be relieved with supplements of St. John’s wort or turmeric, both of which are believed to help to alleviate nerve pain.
• Chiropractic adjustments – Chiropractors believe that most health problems develop because of the misalignment of the spinal column. The main goal of chiropractic adjustments is to relieve pressure on compressed neural structures.
Patients may be comforted in knowing that most bulging disc treatment plans rarely include surgery. An individual’s symptoms will generally subside with a course of conservative and/or alternative treatments. Surgical procedures are reserved for patients who continue to live with severe symptoms, even after several weeks or months of other non invasive treatments.