Treatment Options to Choose From
If you have been experiencing tenderness and pain in your back, a physical examination at your doctor could help determine if you are suffering from bulging disk. The doctor normally would ask a patient to lie flat on their back and move their legs or arms to check for the root cause of the pain. They would also carry out a neurological exam. A neurological exam involves checking a person’s reflexes, muscle coordination, walking ability and the ability to detect sensations in different part of the body.
In order to detect a herniated disk, the doctor only needs to carry out a physical exam and a medical history. However if the doctor isn’t sure about which nerve has actually been affected as a result of a herniated disk, they may ask you to undergo the following tests.
- A CT scan to detect any problems in the spinal column
- An MRI which creates an image of the internal structure of the body to confirm the location of the herniated disk.
Treatment for bulging disk
For someone who suffers from bulging disk, carrying out everyday activities can be troublesome. This is why patients are advised to practice conservative treatment. This means that the person should avoid getting into any painful positions. Following a mild exercise program and taking their medications on time. Doctors might also prescribe any of the following medicines
- Regular OTC medications which can help manage the pain.
- If OTC medications fail to give relief, then narcotics are suggested in moderate doses.
- For those who suffer from radiating nerve pain, anticonvulsants could be prescribed.
- Muscle relaxers are administered for muscular spasms.
- Cortisone injections are administered to the site of the pain to provide immediate pain relief especially for those who suffer debilitating pain which is often unmanageable.
Along with these medications a doctor might suggest bulging disk therapy. This includes a series of physical therapies like applications of compresses both hot and cold. Also they might suggest exercises which would help alleviate the pain. Also includes massage therapy and use of physical manipulations which can help bring pain relief.
However if all of the above mentioned treatments fail in providing relief from the pain, surgery is often considered the last resort. If conservative treatments lasting more than six to eight weeks bring no improvement in a patient’s condition, then surgery could be suggested.
However surgery is only suggested in any of the following conditions:
- Numbness or weakness in any of the regions in the body
- Problems standing up or difficulty getting into different body positions
- Unable to carry out daily activities
- Loss of bladder control
During surgery the protruding portion of the disk is removed so that it doesn’t exert any more pressure on the surrounding nerves. It’s very rare when the complete herniated disk is removed. Major portion of the disc is kept intact to prevent further complications.
Similarly alternative treatments like chiropractic treatment and acupuncture could be practiced if surgery is to be avoided.