Back problems plague about 10 percent of the population at any given time, and more than 90 percent of people will experience back issues at some point in their life. There are a number of different conditions that can develop with our spines, but one of the most common is what’s known as a bulging disc.
Your spine is made up of sections of spinal vertebrae and spinal discs. Your vertebrae aid in movement and provide stability, while your discs help to absorb shock from daily activities. These discs naturally wear down over the years, and that process can be expedited by factors like smoking or obesity. When one of these weakened discs shifts out of place and compresses nearby nerves, it is known as a bulging disc.
Symptoms of a bulging disc in your spine include:
- Local pain
- Radiating pain to your arms, legs or shoulders
- Pins-and-needles sensation
- Muscle spasms
- Inhibited gait
If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, consider heading to a spine specialist’s clinic. Dr. Chang has diagnosed and treated countless individuals with disc issues and he can do the same for you.
The diagnostic process begins with a review of your medical history and asking you about your symptoms. From there, we’ll conduct a physical exam that may include some simple movements to see what actions cause symptoms and to help pinpoint the source of the pain. Once we have an idea of where the problem is housed, we’ll likely order an imaging test like an X-ray or MRI to confirm the location and extent of the condition.
Treating A Bulging Disc
If you’re dealing with a bulging disc, you may believe that surgery is your only option. However, in many cases, bulging discs respond well to conservative care. In fact, since they often respond well to non-operative options, many insurance companies will not approve a procedure until six weeks of conservative care has failed to fully address the problem.
Common forms of conservative care include:
- Physical Therapy
- Controlled Exercise
- Chiropractic Manipulation
- Improve Diet and Weight Loss
- Cortisone Injections
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications
- Ultrasound Therapy
- Electrical Stimulation
As we mentioned above, conservative care techniques often help to shift the disc back into a healthy position and in turn relieve compression of nearby structures, but if it does not, a minimally invasive operation may be performed. Your surgeon can walk you through the specifics of the procedure should it become necessary, but a couple of different options are available, and they all have high rates of success.
So if you are dealing with back pain and you suspect that a bulging disc may be to blame, do yourself a favor and set up a consultation with Dr. Chang. For more information or to reach his clinic, call (651) 430-3800.