Surgery for a Bulging Disc
A bulging disc occurs when a weak spot develops in the wall of one of the cushioning discs between the vertebrae in the spine thus allowing the disc to expand beyond its normal perimeter. Causes of bulging disc include trauma, disease and degeneration associated with aging. When the expansion impinges on one or more of the spinal nerves, bulging disc symptoms ranging from discomfort to disability can occur. Severity depends on the location of the bulging disc, the amount of pressure it puts on a nerve and other factors. Symptoms of a lower spine, or lumbar bulging disc, can include pain, numbness or weakness in the hips, buttocks, legs and feet. Symptoms of a bulging disc in the neck, or cervical spine, can include pain numbness or weakness which radiates from the neck all the way through the arms down to the fingertips.
Treatments for Bulging Discs
Surgery for a bulging disc is an option in some cases. Traditionally this has meant invasive surgery with extended recovery times and the risk of complications. Today, minimally invasive spinal surgery and microsurgical techniques and tools have transformed spinal surgery procedures and outcomes for bulging disc and other common spinal disorders. With minimally invasive surgery employing fiber-optic illumination and magnification, bulging and herniated discs can be treated on an outpatient basis, through very small incisions that minimize tissue damage and promote fast recoveries.
However, as we tell our patients here at New Jersey Spine Specialists, the best strategy for dealing with a bulging disc is a preventive strategy. Protect your back when lifting heavy objects, use proper posture, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Conservative treatments for bulging discs include rest, medications, and exercises for the muscles surrounding the spine. Epidural steroid injections can also help relieve pain during the healing process. If you have not gained relief from these conservative treatments, Minimally Invasive Surgery may be an option for permanent relief.