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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

Bulging Disc Series - Part 5: What Are the Most Common Treatments?

Posted by Illinois Back Institute on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 @ 05:11 PM

This is Part Five in a series about Bulging Discs. If you missed Part Four, click here!

In the first four parts of this series we have covered the basics about Bulging Discs. This includes what they are, how they are caused, and what their symptoms are based on where in the spine the injury is located. These basics were also summarized in a video that helped to explain them further using animation and other visual aides.

So, now that we know what Bulging Discs are, how they happen, and what they do, we need to begin discussing how to treat them. In this part we will focus on what doctors prescribe to treat Bulging Discs, and what you need to know about these most common treatments.

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There are several ways that doctors try to treat Bulging Discs. These treatments can range from something as simple as rest or a back brace, to something much more invasive like spinal injections or surgery. Most of the time, the type of treatment used depends on the level of pain and disability the patient has. Doctors will try to use the simplest and least aggressive treatment as possible, and then progress from there if the pain does not improve. The main problem with these treatments is that they only cover up the pain instead of treating the actual cause of the bulging disc, so the pain often comes back and even worse than before.

As we said, the type of treatment used varies depending on how severe the Bulging Disc is. Here are some of the most common treatments that doctors will prescribe:

  • Non-prescription pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs - If the pain and discomfort that the patient is experiencing is only mild, the doctor may just tell them to take some ibuprofin and not do anything too strenuous. For some people doing this will make the pain go away, but for many it only helps a bit and the injury is too serious for it to stop the pain completely.
  • Physical therapy - Many doctors will recommend physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles in the back. This can help lessen the pain for some people, but the problem of the Bulging Disc is still there.
  • Chiropractic - A chiropractor is good for releasing stress and increasing range of motion and mobility by loosening up joints in the body. While this can provide relief, it is usually only a temporary.
  • Narcotics and other Prescription Medications - If the over-the-counter drugs are not working, the doctor may prescribe stronger ones. These are often effective for short amounts of time, but can often lead to other problems, as they can be addictive and have other dangerous side effects.
  • Spinal Injections - When the conventional measures are not working, the doctor often recommends more invasive methods. The first thing they will most often try are epidural shots, injected directly into the spine in the area of the Bulging Disc. The intent of these shots is to dramatically reduce the inflammation around the disc, which dramatically reduces pain. But it eventually wears off, and because the Bulging Disc is still there the pain very often returns.
  • Surgery - This is the final option for most doctors, for when the injections are no longer effective. There are several different surgeries the are performed on the spine. However, these surgeries can be very risky, complicated, and expensive. The most common is fusion surgery, where the vertebrae above and below the damaged disc are joined together so that they cannot move anymore. The hope is that by doing this, the pressure on the disc is relieved, which also relieves the pain. The biggest problem with this surgery is that even though it can eliminate the pressure on one damaged disc, it also doubles the pressure on the discs directly above and below it. This often causes those discs to break down much faster than usual, which leads to more surgery. Plus, the surgery can fail sometimes, or not work as well as expected, which leaves the patient in pain still.


The majority of these treatments do work in relieving the pain from a Bulging Disc, at least for a little while. But, because none of them actually treat what is causing the Bulging Disc, they are very often only temporary. With all of these treatments, eventually the pain will almost always return.

Bulging Discs are difficult for doctors to treat because the traditional common ways that they prescribe for the pain do not treat the actual problem with the disc. What makes our treatment different and better is that we target the actual cause of the Bulging Disc, and elmininate it. And this eliminates the pain.

Remember, this is just Part 5 in our series about Bulging Discs. Our discussion will continue in Part 6, coming soon!

The key to our treatment is solving the underlying cause. If you have a Bulging Disc and are suffering, we can help you. Call today to schedule a Free Consultation at 855-536-8301, or click on this link to schedule online:

Click Here For a Free Bulging Disc Consultation

If you would like to learn more about your back pain, or learn more about us and what we do, we regularly hold Free Educational Seminars in each of our clinics! To see the schedule for the upcoming Seminars, and to Reserve a Seat, you can click here:

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Also, for anyone suffering with back pain of any kind, our Free Top Ten Tips For Back Pain Relief can help! These tips can be invaluable in helping you to relieve your back pain. To sign up for the Free Tips, click here:

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Disclaimer: The content on this web site is for information purposes only and should never be used as the basis for diagnosis or treatment. We always recommend consulting a qualified professional before embarking on any form of self treatment or rehabilitation.

All content is protected by the usual copyright laws and cannot be used, stolen or reproduced for any purpose without Illinois Back Institute permission. Please feel free to call about anything although we are unable to give advice on any specific injuries or conditions over the phone.