What’s Your Type? Bulging Discs May Vary, but Laser Spine Institute Can Help
Until you suffered your first twinge of back pain, you probably didn’t ponder the engineering marvel that is your spine. This sleek stack of 24 vertebrae, cushioned by 23 soft, jelly-like pads called discs, is arranged in an elegant structure that makes it possible for you to bend, twist, and even shimmy on a whim.
But what happens if one of those discs develops a weak spot and pops out beyond its normal parameter? You’ll have a condition known as a bulging disc, and here’s a surprising fact: Many people have one and don’t even know it — as long as the bulging area does not press upon surrounding tissues. Symptoms typically begin when the protrusion impinges on the nerves of the spinal column and vary, depending on the type of bulging disc.
Here’s a look at three different types of bulging discs, treatment options, and how Laser Spine Institute can help.
Cervical Bulging Disc
What It Is: Literally “a pain in the neck,” a cervical bulging disc can be caused by trauma, such as an accident that places stress on the neck, or disc deterioration due to aging.
How It’s Treated: Rest, physical therapy, exercise, over-the-counter medications, or a neck brace. If those fail, a physician may try a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation of the nerve roots.
How Laser Spine Institute Can Help: If these treatments fail, and the pain is so debilitating it affects your ability to work or enjoy leisure activities, then your physician may recommend traditional disc surgery. Laser Spine Institute offers you an alternative that requires no hospital stay, general anesthesia, or lengthy recovery period. The minimally invasive procedures are performed on an outpatient basis.
Thoracic Bulging Disc
What It Is: A disc in the mid-back region that has developed an abnormal bulge or protrusion.
How It’s Treated: In most cases, it can be treated with conservative therapies, such as adopting good posture, avoiding sitting for long periods of time, exercises, and possibly anti-inflammatory medicine.
Please Note: Laser Spine Institute currently does not perform minimally invasive procedures on the thoracic spine.
Lumbar Bulging Disc
What It Is: True to its name, a lumbar bulging disc occurs in the lumbar area of the spine, roughly from the waist to the top of the hips. Lumbar bulging discs account for the majority of bulging disc cases.
How It’s Treated: If you are diagnosed with a lumbar bulging disc, chances are it will heal on its own within about six months. Your doctor may prescribe rest, pain and anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy to ease your symptoms. In about 10 percent of cases, symptoms are severe and lasting, leading a physician to recommend an open-back surgery such as discectomy.
How Laser Spine Institute Can Help: Laser Spine Institute offers several outpatient, minimally invasive procedures, such as minimally invasive discectomy, for the treatment of bulging lumbar disc.