Treatment options for a bulging disc include heat and ice pack application, certain lifestyle changes, medications, epidural injections and spinal decompression, as confirmed by Laser Spine Institute. Although conservative treatments are effective in around 90 percent of cases, some patients may require surgery.
Depending on the severity of the bulging disc, patients may be asked to endure one or two days of bed rest and avoid heavy lifting and other activities that cause back strain, or they may be prescribed specific exercises by a physical therapist, explains Laser Spine Institute. Sufferers may also be prescribed anti-inflammatory or pain medications to relieve symptoms. Patients should maintain a healthy weight and get regular exercise to strengthen core muscles for maximum back protection. If surgery is needed, minimally invasive procedures may be an option, and some may be performed on an outpatient basis.
An epidural steroid injection is a popular treatment option for bulging discs and other causes of back pain, and it is well documented for short-term effectiveness, according to Spine-health. Spinal decompression is another option that may relieve pain by gently stretching the spine to take pressure off the discs, as stated by WebMD. This may cause the bulging disc to retract from the irritated nerves.