Non-surgical treatment options for bulging disc include physical therapy, exercise, medication, massage therapy, acupuncture, and/or application of heat or cold compresses. If the compression is due to a tumor radiation or chemotherapy may be indicated. Steroid injections may help reduce inflammation relieving some of the compression. 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. When compression is due to a hematoma or an abscess it will need to be surgically drained. Surgical procedures to relieve the compression may include laminotomy/foraminotomy, laminectomy or discectomy. The spine surgeon will make the decision on which type of surgery will benefit the patient most.