Back pain affects around eight percent of American adults, making it one of the most common chronic pain issues in the United States. There are also many ways back pain can become chronic pain, which can be harder to treat and cause long-term issues.
Around two percent of Americans deal with bulging discs. Unfortunately, the pain doesn’t always subside with rest. The Spine and Pain Center of California provides our patients different options for back pain that continues or worsens over time.
Our founder Dr. Navin Mahallavaram and our other providers know that short-term solutions aren’t always enough. That’s why we offer safe, effective treatments to help you find long-term relief for your bulging disc pain.
Bulging discs might also be called ruptured, slipped, or herniated discs. These are all slight variations on one type of issue, but essentially, it means something is wrong with one of the discs in your spine. These discs act as cushions for your bones and nerves. But when one of them bulges or ruptures, it can cause stiffness, pain, and tingling or weakness in the muscles.
In many cases, a bulging disc will see improvement with a few days of rest coupled with low-impact activities to avoid increasing stiffness. Pain relievers (like NSAIDs), ice, and heat are great at-home remedies.
However, some people realize they are struggling with pain and stiffness for weeks or even months from a bulging disc. In this case, it’s time to see a specialist and start working on long-term pain solutions.
Bulging disc pain that doesn’t go away often requires more treatment than the simple home remedies discussed above. There are many treatments available, including conservative and invasive options. It’s best to start with a conservative treatment and move on to more invasive ones if and when these don’t work.
Conservative treatments for a bulging disc can range from a back brace to acupuncture to physical therapy. But sometimes, patients don’t see the effects they’re hoping for or can’t utilize these options because the pain is so intense.
There are also many injections that can help you cope with chronic pain caused by a bulging disc. These usually consist of a steroid that reduces inflammation over a long period of time and an anesthetic that helps relieve discomfort.
These treatments can be very effective in minimizing chronic pain so that you can begin to heal safely. However, not everyone responds to conservative treatments, and in this case, another option may be needed.
After about four weeks of conservative treatment, if you are still experiencing severe pain, you might want to consider one of the more invasive treatments available. In most cases, these are not needed for a bulging disc, but it’s crucial to be aware of all your options.
Discectomies and percutaneous discectomies are two different ways of removing the herniated material, therefore relieving the pressure on the nerve. The latter is less invasive because it involves going through the skin. If you have exhausted all other options, it might be time for one of these surgical interventions.
There is no need to suffer in silence. Many people experience a bulging disc in their lifetimes, and it’s not necessary — or advisable — to experience pain without seeking the help you need, especially if it has lasted longer or become more painful than you can bear.
To visit our Pleasanton or Fremont, CA, office, call or make an appointment online. We are here to help!