Common treatment options for bulging discs include avoiding activities that increase symptoms, weight loss and lifestyle changes, and ice pack or heat therapy. However, treatment for bulging discs varies depending on the location and severity of the issue, according to the Laser Spine Institute. Other initial treatment options are stretching techniques, a personalized exercise program, pain relievers and steroid injections.
It is common for the treatment of bulging discs to be mild in the beginning since many of the symptoms heal themselves within a few weeks. Heat therapy is an example of a mild treatment method which uses heating pads or warm showers to relieve symptoms. Stretching techniques are used to make the spine more flexible and reduce the pressure from pinched nerves. For symptoms that affect the quality of life over time, a physician takes a more aggressive approach, states the Laser Spine Institute.
Some patients also make use of complimentary treatments such as chiropractic treatment, acupuncture and spinal decompression therapy. If symptoms caused by a bulging disc are not reduced within several weeks or months of mild treatment methods, surgical intervention may be required, explains the Laser Spine Institute. Surgery is used to treat about 10 percent of patients with bulging discs, as of 2015.