How Do You Heal a Bulging Disk?


Quick Answer

In general, a bulging disk is treated for six to 12 weeks with non-surgical options, such as chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy and epidural injections of steroids, according to Spine-health. If pain continues to prevent the patient from performing everyday activities or neurological symptoms worsen despite these treatments, surgery is recommended.

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Initial treatments of bulged disks can be as simple as performing a series of stretches or yoga poses, reports Spine-health. Extensions, cobra pose, or press-ups are utilized to bend the back so pressure is taken off disks and can greatly reduce sciatic nerve pain. Mobilization and adjustments of the lower back by a licensed chiropractor are recommended if pain persists longer than two to four weeks, and aid in reducing pain and restoring function to the lower spine. Anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to manage the pain associated with a bulged disk, but if they are ineffective, steroids can be administered orally. Epidural steroid shots can provide relief from pain for up to a year and successfully reduce pain in 50 percent of those injected, according to Spin-health.

If these non-surgical therapies do not prove successful, there are several surgical options to relieve a bulging or herniated disk. Microdiscectomy surgeries remove the portion of the disk impinging on nerves. As of 2015, advances have made this procedure much less invasive and painful to recover from, reports Spine-health. A less attractive and less widely used option is chymopapain injections, which dissolve disk tissue, thus relieving the pinched nerve.

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