Bulging Disc Treatment
Spinal discs positioned between each vertebra act as shock absorbers for your spine. They have an outer layer of tough cartilage that surrounds a gel-like nucleus in the center.
Discs eventually show signs of wear and tear as a person ages. That’s because they become dehydrated and stiffen. When that happens, the outer layer of the disc can protrude out beyond the edge of the vertebra. However, a bulging disc does not involve a rupture of the outer layer.
You may or may not feel pain from a bulging disc. It depends on whether the bulge is great enough to press on a nerve or cause your spinal canal to narrow (spinal stenosis). If that happens, you may experience radiating pain, numbness, and muscle weakness.
If located in the cervical spine, a bulging disc could cause pain when you move your neck or pain that radiates into your upper arm, forearm, and possibly your fingers.
If the bulging disc presses against your spinal cord in the thoracic (upper) region, it can also cause changes in bladder or bowel function and/or paralysis below the waist.
Normally, however, a bulging disc is more of a nuisance than a threat. The pain may start slowly and get worse over time, but if diagnosed and treated early on, a bulging disc often gets better within a matter of a few weeks or months.
Nonsurgical Treatment for Bulging Disc
Nonsurgical treatment for a bulging disc will depend on your symptoms. Conservative options include pain medications, physical therapy, and a wait-and-see approach to eventual recovery. If these measures don’t resolve the problem and your symptoms get worse, your doctor may perform a laminotomy (removal of part of the lamina of the vertebral arch), a discectomy (removal of the disc), or other surgical procedure designed to decompress your spinal cord or spinal nerves.
Relief for Bulging Disc in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Lapeer, Michigan
Dr. Bradley D. Ahlgren can examine your spine for a suspected bulging disc and recommend appropriate treatment depending on the severity of your condition. As a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon, Dr. Ahlgren can help relieve your pain as quickly and effectively as possible.
To learn more, contact Ahlgren Spine today at (248) 215-8080 and schedule a consultation or use our online form to request an appointment.