Are you suffering from a bulging disc and in search of an alternative to a life of pain? Fortunately, there is a range of bulging disc alternative treatment options to choose from that can ease your pain and get you back to your everyday activities.
Before deciding if alternative treatment is right for you, it’s important to understand your condition and the other treatments available. A bulging disc occurs when one of the spongy discs that cushion the spine becomes swollen and pushes into the spinal canal. Should this extrusion result in nerve compression, painful symptoms can develop, including sciatica (radiating pain), muscle weakness and loss of sensory function.
Specific symptoms depend on the location, severity and origin of the bulging disc. These symptoms can typically be treated with conservative, nonsurgical methods. These methods generally include physical therapy, pain relievers, stretching, hot and cold compresses and other noninvasive treatments.
Bulging disc alternative nonsurgical treatment options
In addition to traditional nonsurgical treatment options, some patients choose to also try alternative treatment options. While less is known on the medical benefits of these options, trying one of these methods in addition to using traditional nonsurgical methods can help ease the pain and symptoms of a bulging disc.
These alternative methods include:
- Yoga — Gentle yoga stretches can target the tight muscles that often cause sciatic pain. Yoga can also reduce inflammation.
- Acupuncture — Acupuncture can relieve back pain and sciatica by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and can change the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord.
- Biofeedback — Biofeedback is a method of learning to control your bodily functions by monitoring your brain waves, blood pressure, degree of muscle tension, etc.
Bulging disc alternative surgical treatment options
If these alternative treatments and more traditional nonsurgical approaches prove ineffective after weeks or months, your physician may recommend surgery. Surgery comes in two main options: traditional open neck and back surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery. While traditional open neck and back surgery has been the norm in the field of orthopedic spine surgery, there is a safer and more effective alternative in the form of minimally invasive spine surgery.
Minimally invasive spine surgery uses small incisions to provide surgeons access to the spine. This is opposed to traditional open spine surgery that requires large incisions and the tearing of muscles. Minimally invasive spine procedures are also performed on an outpatient basis, so you avoid hospital-associated costs and are able to get back to your everyday life faster.
Minimally invasive spine surgery includes both decompression and stabilization procedures. The major difference between minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization surgery is that decompression only removes part of the diseased disc or vertebrae to decompress the impacted nerve in the spinal canal, and stabilization removes the entire disc or vertebrae to decompress the nerve and then inserts an implant into the now-empty space in the spine for stabilization.
If you are interested in bulging disc alternative treatment options, consult with your physician about the options available to you.