Age-related wear and tear is often the natural result of a bulging or herniated disc. Disc degeneration is the term used with bulging discs that are related to aging.
However, aging is not the only risk factor for bulging discs. Other risk factors that can cause spinal injuries regardless of age include:
- Improper lifting techniques
- Frequent and long driving
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Repetitive trauma that strains the spine
Non-surgical Bulging Disc Therapy
Non-surgical bulging disc therapy is the usual healing route. The non-surgical remedies are all focused on alleviating pain.
Leg and back pain are usually helped by staying in bed for a day to two days. However, bed rest for more than two days is not recommended. Try to do these activities following two days of bed rest:
- Avoid movements that cause pain by changing some of your activities of daily living
- Avoid sitting for a long time
- Take a couple of rest breaks throughout the day
- Lifting and bending forward activities should be controlled and slow
Pain can also be helped by taking over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs like naproxen and ibuprofen.
Specific exercises such as stretching or taking short walks can help to strengthen abdominal and lower back muscles.
Injecting the space around the nerve with a cortisone-like drug can reduce the inflammation and provide short-term relief from pain.
Surgical Bulging Disc Therapy
Surgery is only seen as the best remedy for a small percentage of patients suffering from bulging discs. This type of therapy is seen as the last recourse when the patient does not get relief from pain after doing a period of non-surgical bulging disc treatments.
Some of the symptoms experienced by patients that may require surgery include:
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Muscle weakness
- Walking with difficulty
Microdiskectomy is the most common surgical process used to treat a bulging disc. A single bulging disc would take a small incision procedure at the site of the disk herniation. The presence of bulging discs at more than one level would require a larger procedure.
A 30-minute walking exercise may be recommended by your doctor or a physical therapist after the recovery period. Some specific exercises might also be included to restore flexibility and strength to your legs and back.
You will probably be prohibited from doing twisting, bending, and lifting activities for the first few weeks following surgery. This is also to reduce the risk of acquiring a repeat of the bulging disc.
Every surgical procedure has its share of complications. The surgical risks for bulging disc include:
- The further need for surgery
- Nerve injury
- Recurring bulging disc
Outcomes for bulging disc surgery are very good. Patients generally see and feel more improvements in their leg pain than pain in the back. Normal activities are usually resumed after a certain period of recovery. Relief from pain is the top improvement felt by patients followed by sensation and strength in the leg.
Extensive research for treating bulging disc has been done over the years. Yet, the bulging disc issue tends to recur following non-surgical and surgical treatments. Learn about available choices for bulging disc therapy from The Disc Doctor.