Treatment for a Bulging Disc in the Neck
A bulging or herniated disc is a condition of an intervertebral disc where the inner portion of the disc presses against the outer wall of the disc and forces it to bulge into the spinal column. The disc is still intact, but it can lead to a more serious condition if it’s not adequately examined and treated.
Most of the time, bulging discs require no treatment at all and will heal on their own. Doctors usually try a “wait and see” method before attempting conservative treatment.
Before doctors will consider aggressive treatments, they will recommend noninvasive, light measures such as anti-inflammatory medication and stretching exercises easily performed at home.
If the patient is still not experiencing relief, the next step is a little more aggressive but still noninvasive. Doctors will either send patients to a physical therapist or a chiropractor for additional manipulative assistance for pain relief and helping the disc heal.
Surgery is an option for a herniated disc under one of the following circumstances: either the disc is squeezing the spinal cord or nerves to the point of causing weakness and constant pain, or if six to 12 weeks of conservative treatment does not provide any pain relief. The surgery performed is called a discectomy, where the disc is completely removed and replaced, typically with a metal prosthetic.
Bulging Disc Risks
If a bulging disc is not properly attended to, it can worsen and even rupture. A ruptured disc requires surgery and usually results in abnormal posture and restricted movement.