If you’ve been diagnosed with a bulging disc, it can sound scary. Bulging in the spine never sounds good. But before you worry too much, let’s delve into what a “bulging disc” diagnosis really means.
Also called bulging disc syndrome, the terms refer to a condition where the center of a disc in your spine has pushed through the exterior shell. Since the middle of the disc is soft, if the barrier that protects it is cracked, the disc can squeeze through.
The result is a bulging disc, and you might or might not have realized you had one.
In some people, there are no symptoms. You find out about the bulge through diagnostic imaging. Others have moderate to severe pain, weakness, or numbness caused by the disc irritating nerves around it.
If you’re getting along just fine with your bulging disc, don’t worry about it! Keep it in mind when you’re lifting heavy objects or working out so it doesn’t become worse.
But if you do have pain, tingling, or weakness, you shouldn’t ignore the problem.
Treatment for your spinal issue will depend on your symptoms and how severe they are. Are you having trouble moving because of the pain? Is the weakness making it difficult for you to perform your normal daily activities?
Bulging discs can be treated with physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the area. Moderate to severe pain can be managed with medication, stretching, and adjusting your movements.
In rare cases, your doctor could recommend surgical intervention such as a lumbar fusion or disc replacement.
If your goal is to avoid surgery, try these at-home therapies in conjunction with physical therapy:
Gentle exercise, like walking with proper sneakers, helps keep your whole body in shape and gets the muscles active. If the pain gets too intense, try an over-the-counter pain reliever and anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen.
If your insurance doesn’t cover office visits or you don’t have the time to go to therapy, an alternative treatment is a CPM machine.
CPM machines provide the same therapies you’d get in a professional setting, improving the blood flow in your lower back and reducing inflammation. It’s an at-home physical therapy that you can do on your own schedule in 15 minutes a day.
Decompression has been shown to be beneficial to the body since it aids in the movement of synovial fluids through the joints. Decompression, on the other hand, is costly because it must be done twice a year; that money could purchase 6 Back Pro Motorized tables and have the same result.