A bulging disc can truly put your life on hold. The pain, which can include numbness, tingling, weakness in the arms and legs and other types of discomfort, can force you to stop certain activities because they hurt so badly. Depending on what you do for a living, it may even be difficult to complete your work responsibilities.
While this can be a frustrating scenario, it doesn’t have to be. There are many bulging disc treatments available today to treat your symptoms. In fact, a majority of patients find relief with nonsurgical treatments that include medication, stretching, hot and cold compresses and physical therapy. If your condition is already severe, there are prescription pain medications and epidural steroid injections to ease the pain further. Consult with your physician before beginning any of these to increase your chances for the best treatment outcome.
Sometimes these nonsurgical, conservative treatments are not enough to ease the pain and symptoms of a bulging disc. If your symptoms have not responded well to conservative treatment plans, your physician may recommend surgery.
Minimally invasive spine surgery
Surgery is often seen as a last resort treatment option. Traditional open spine surgery is a highly invasive procedure that involves large incisions, increased risks of infection and complication and a lengthy recovery. However, you can now receive bulging disc help with minimally invasive spine surgery.
Minimally invasive spine surgery offers many benefits over traditional open spine surgery, such as a streamlined experience and no unnecessary muscle tearing.
A common minimally invasive procedure is a discectomy. In this decompression procedure, the portion of a bulging disc that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord is removed. Here’s how it works:
- The area of your back or neck that’s harboring the bulging disc is numbed. IV medication is administered for deep sedation.
- A small incision is made and a series of narrow tubes are inserted. They are used to access the affected disc by gently pushing muscle aside with increasingly larger tubes. The largest is left in place and the others are removed.
- Tiny tools, including a laser, camera and light are fed down the tube and the laser is used to remove the portion of disc compressing nerves. No destabilization of the spine is necessary.
- All the tools and the tube are removed and the incision is closed.
Like most minimally invasive procedures, a discectomy is performed on an outpatient basis at a separate spine surgery center. Patients typically return to their accommodations the same day as surgery and are encouraged to be up and walking within hours of a procedure. Due to the small incision and its minimally invasive nature, there is a lower risk of infection and other complications compared to traditional open spine surgery.
For more information about this bulging disc procedure and other minimally invasive options, consult with your physician to determine if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.