How to Repair a Bulging Disk

A bulging, or herniated disk occurs when the cartilage between your bones in your back (vertebrae) moves out of place. These disks are important in increasing the flexibility of your spine. In addition, they act as shock absorbers that decrease the pressure on your backbones when you are performing physical activity. Unfortunately, your disk may bulge, compress a spinal nerve and cause a sharp pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms or legs, according to Medline Plus. The Mayo Clinic states that conservative treatment repairs a bulging disk in nine out of ten people. Follow these guidelines to repair your bulging disk.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can reduce inflammation.
Credit: lofilolo/iStock/Getty Images

Conservative Repair Plan

Step 1

Rest soon after you experience your symptoms, but do not rest for more than 2 days. Avoid activities that may your symptoms worse. Explore other ways of completing daily activities to avoid re-aggravating your bulging disk.

Step 2

Provide more support for your spine by strengthening your back muscles with physical activity. Perform back exercises and stretches recommended by your doctor or physical therapist.

Step 3

Apply an ice pack to your back to relieve your pain. Place the ice pack on a towel that rests on your back for 20 minutes, then, remove the ice pack for 20 minutes. Repeat this cycle for the first 48 hours as often as possible. Apply a heat pack to your back 48 hours after your injury to reduce stiffness. Alternate cold and heat therapy. Repeat this cycle as often as possible.

Step 4

Take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as needed. Follow the instructions on the label and use as directed. Do not use for extended periods of time to prevent unwanted side effects, such as liver and kidney damage.

Surgical Repair Plan

Step 1

Seek immediate medical treatment if you have an acute back injury, are experiencing excessive pain or having bowel or bladder problems.

Step 2

Discuss surgical treatment options, including laminectomy or diskectomy. Ask about possible surgical risk, complications and expected outcome.

Step 3

Follow your doctor and physical therapist's recommended rehabilitation program to maximize your recovery. Prevent a future disk bulge by strengthening your back muscles, properly managing your weight and using proper lifting techniques.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice pack

  • Heat pack

  • Pain medication

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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