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Bulging Disc Treatment Options

Bulging Disc Treatment Options

Sitting or sleeping inappropriately are some of the most common causes of bulging disc. Taking adequate rest, many times helps to resolve the issue.
Nicks J
The bulging disc that is more often diagnosed in the elderly, will cause pain, depending upon whether the protrusion affects the nearby nerves. As we all know, the spine is a hollow bony structure covering the bundle of nerves that pass through it. A consistent gap (spinal canal) is maintained between this 'group of nerves' and the spine. However, when the displaced part of the disc enters the spinal canal and exerts pressure on the nerve, it causes pain in the lower back. The affected nerves become irritated and inflamed.
Treatment
Rest
Those who want to overcome this back problem, need to understand that taking adequate rest is a must. Lack of rest can cause displaced disc to move further away, thus aggravating the problem. Well, here rest doesn't mean being completely inactive but putting some limitations on day-to-day routine. Lifting or pushing the heavy objects can worsen this pain. Complete bed rest is certainly not the solution to overcome bulging disc pain. All one has to do is put some restrictions on the daily routine.
Ice Therapy
Application of ice packs on the affected area can also help to ease the bulging disc pain. This treatment method can certainly provide relief from mild to moderate lower back pain.
Warm Compress
Heat therapy in the form of warm compress is immensely useful to relieve the discomfort. Putting heating pad on the painful area is definitely a good idea to get relief. A warm shower bath too can contribute to reduce bulging disc.
Massage Therapy
Massaging the affected area from a professional therapist can also be a good remedy to promote healing. Massage therapy that stimulates blood circulation in the area of discomfort, may help to relieve pain. A bulging disc massage done by applying gentle pressure can work wonders to alleviate pain.
Medications
These medications help to manage pain effectively, so as to prevent our daily routine from coming to a standstill. Following are some oral medicines:
  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
Corticosteroid Injections
This form of treatment is also useful to relieve bulging disc pain. As aforementioned, the displaced nerve puts pressure on the nearby nerve of the spinal cord. This makes the nerve inflamed. In order to reduce the nerve inflammation, corticosteroids are administered intravenously. As the swelling of the nerve decreases, the pain also subsides gradually. The numbness and tingling sensation in the back area due to nerve swelling also decreases considerably.
Exercises
Once the pain subsides considerably, the doctor may ask the patient to do some stretching exercises to restore normal movement of the back. Eventually, the doctor may also introduce a few strengthening exercises to speed up healing.
Traction
Use of pelvic traction is yet another recommended therapy to ease the back pain associated with bulging disc. As the name suggests, one has to wear it around the pelvic area. The presence of bulging disc makes the spine deformed. Wearing the pelvic traction belt and then sliding it downwards by pulling its handles, will provide immediate perceptible relief from pain.
Spinal Decompression Therapy
In this therapy, the patient lies on a special table that is equipped with a computer driven mechanical traction of the spine. The patient is then fitted with a chest and a waist straps to exert the traction force on the treatment site. The computer is switched on and operated accordingly by the doctor to generate necessary traction force on the spinal column. Every time, the force is applied, it stretches the spine, which helps to create a very small space in between adjacent discs. This may help a protruding disc to realign back to its original position, in turn reducing the pressure on the nerve. In order to get the desired result, the patient will have to attend at least 15-20 sessions over a period of 2 months, with each session lasting for around 30 minutes.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulations (TENS)
This therapy involves sending low voltage electric current in the painful part of the body to alleviate discomfort. The theory behind using TENS is that the transmitted mild current stimulates certain nerves, which help to shut down the nerve gates in the spinal cord. These spinal cord nerve gates allow the pain signals to travel to the brain. So, closure of these nerve gates blocks the flow of pain messages, thereby numbing our ability to feel the pain sensations.
In order to transmit the current, two electrodes are placed on the area causing pain. The electrical power source delivers the current through a set of wires that are attached to the electrodes. Thus, with the help of electrodes, the mild current reaches the painful site, eventually making the patient imperceptible to pain.
Muscle Balance Therapy
For long-term relief from back pain, muscle balance therapy is a good option. This therapy targets the root cause, which is nothing but spinal misalignment. Muscle imbalance is a condition in which one muscle group is subjected to undue pressure, while other muscles are too weak. In this case, few muscles are being excessively pulled, while others aren't strong enough. This muscle imbalance affecting the back area, can lead to bulging disc and spinal deformity. So, to repair muscle imbalances, one has to consult a chiropractor or a physical therapist. The chiropractor with his hands exerts force on the back along the line of the spine to rectify any issues associated with its joints, ligaments and the muscles.
Stitchless Spine Surgery
Thanks to the advancement in medical field, bulged out intervertebral disc can also be fixed using non-invasive procedure. Also referred to as percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy (PELD), the procedure is uncomplicated and performed under local anesthesia. With no cuts and incision, the patient does not require even a day's hospital stay after surgery. This procedure involves introducing a miniature endoscope in the direction of the targeted area to locate the bulging disc. The protruding part of the disc is then exposed to series of radio-frequency waves to knock off the 'popping' disc fragment. There is absolutely no scarring in this technique and the patient resumes his normal activities in minimum time. When the symptoms fail to subside and do not respond to conventional treatment, stitchless spine surgery is definitely recommended. PELD is most effective when the offending disc fragment is still soft, flexible and has not become hard.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.