Non-surgical treatment options for bulging disc include physical therapy, exercise, medication, massage therapy, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, and/or application of heat or cold compresses. Occasionally steroids are injected around the nerves in the spinal column (epidural steroid injections – ESI) easing the pain and reducing the inflammation.
The steroid injections are done by Orlando Orthopaedic Center’s Pain Management Physicians. This is done in an outpatient surgical suite under fluoroscopy (specialized x-ray machine), which allows the steroid medication to be injected around the spinal nerves that are being affected. This may relieve the pain completely. If the pain is not relieved surgery may be indicated.
When non-surgical treatment fails patients might be a candidate for surgery. There are several procedures that can be done depending on the size and location of the bulging disc. Artificial disc replacement, minimally invasive discectomy or if the area is very large causing the vertebra to be unstable after removal of the disc a fusion may be necessary.