If you have been experiencing pain in your neck or back along with tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, muscle spasms or a pins-and-needles sensation, you might be wondering if you have a bulging disc. Schedule an appointment with your physician so he or she can review your symptoms and determine whether or not a bulging disc is the culprit.

Bulging disc diagnosis

Your physician will use the following information to determine if you have a bulging disc diagnosis:

  • Symptoms review. The most important information that your physician will use to determine if you have a bulging disc diagnosis is an accurate description of the symptoms you have been experiencing. Your physician will want to know how long you have been experiencing symptoms, when symptoms started, if anything aggravates or relieves symptoms, where you are experiencing symptoms and if any at home treatment has helped.
  • Medical history review. In addition to information about your symptoms, you will be asked questions about past injuries, allergies, surgeries, current and past health problems, occupation, activity level and your family‚Äôs medical history.
  • Physical examination. In order to properly diagnose your condition, your physician will perform a physical examination including testing your reflexes, muscle strength and response to stimuli. Your physician may ask you to get into certain positions to see if these movements aggravate your symptoms or relieve them. The exam may also include your physician palpating certain parts of your spine.
  • Diagnostic testing. Depending on your symptoms and medical presentation, your physician may order diagnostic testing such as an MRI or CT scan to confirm the diagnosis or further pinpoint the issues.

Bulging disc treatment

If your physician confirms that you have a bulging disc diagnosis, the next step is to start a treatment plan. Most people suffering from a bulging disc find that conservative treatment can manage their symptoms and provide relief from pain. Conservative treatment for a bulging disc includes rest, physical therapy, heat and ice therapy, exercise, pain medication and steroid injections.

If after a few months of conservative treatment, your bulging disc symptoms are still interfering with your everyday life, talk to your physician about bulging disc surgery. Minimally invasive bulging disc surgery can help to relieve painful symptoms while reducing the recovery time when compared to traditional open spine surgery.