Treatment for a disc bulge in L4-L5 includes physical therapy and waiting to see if symptoms abate on their own, or a surgical repair. The majority of bulging discs occur in the lumbar, or lower, region of the spine.
Non-surgical treatments can be used to alleviate the pain while the patient waits for symptoms to go away on their own. Treatments include physical therapy, osteopathic/chiropractic manipulation, heat and/or ice therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, oral steroids, and epidural injections. If the treatments do not alleviate the symptoms and severe pain persists for longer than six weeks, a surgical procedure called a microdiscectomy is recommended. The surgery usually involves removal of the small portion of the disc that is pushing against the nerve root, thereby alleviating the pressure on the nerve root. The surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, and has about a 95 percent success rate, states Spine-health.
A bulging disk, medically referred to as a herniated disc, occurs when a disc degenerates to the point of breaking down. The inner core of the disc leaks out through a weak spot of the outer portion of the intervertebral disc and puts pressure on the spinal nerve root. Because the nerve extends from the nerve root and through leg, the herniated disc can cause pain to radiate through the buttock and down the leg, a condition known as sciatica or radiculopathy, explains Spine-health.