“The orthopedist said that I have a bulging disc. Does that mean I need surgery?” When you are in pain you just want it to be over and if you have had pain long enough you are willing to do just about anything to make the pain stop. But even people in pain know that surgery is risky. The question is; when you have a bulging disc is surgery the best way to get out of pain? Research statistics show that the long term results of surgery versus chiropractic care is about even and is slightly better for conservative chiropractic treatment.
The good news is that for many bulging disc issues, chiropractic care can help without drugs and without surgery because discs can heal if treated correctly. Healing without the danger of drugs and surgery is good news for most people. We believe the best solution for your neck or back pain is to begin with chiropractic care and save surgery for the last resort.
How We Help Bulging Discs
When a person has pain we start with a thorough examination that will help us determine if your pain will be likely to respond to our care; and we look for any signs that indicate you may need more aggressive treatment like surgery. Fortunately the great majority of people respond to our chiropractic care and do not require surgery.
When we start your treatment, we expect a certain level of improvement within the first weeks of care. If you do not make progress, then a referral to a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon is given. But that is a rare occurrence when people have actively participated with us for their hands on care, their special stabilization exercises and their healing nutrition. In our 35 years of practice very few people have needed surgery.
Our chiropractic treatment consists of gentle spinal care that alleviates pressure on the area of the hurt disc. We use therapies and nutritional approaches that reduce inflammation around the injured disc. Then we teach you core strengthening stabilization exercises you work on in our office and then at home. That way you strengthen the deep muscles around your spine which helps keep you healthier for the long run. Once a disc is injured, stronger stabilization muscles will protect and help the weak area. These special Foundation Training exercises are not something you will learn at the gym or at PT.
What Is A Spinal Disc, How Does it Bulge and Cause Pain?
So what is a disc anyway? What does it do? Why might it cause pain? Here is a great video about bulging discs that explains them quite well.
A great video explaining herniated discs: https://www.spine-health.com/video/herniated-disc-video
What About Surgery?
Some people think that surgery is the way to finally end their pain, but we have seen many people come to us after they have had surgery and they still have the exact same pain. These people had MRI or CT scans that showed a ‘bulging disc’ and a surgeon said surgery was needed. But guess what, the ‘bulging disc’ was not the real cause of their pain, because after the disc bulge had been removed they still had their pain. Even successful surgery has side effects, so you want to be sure that you have fully participated with the conservative care we give you.
You can read more about spinal surgery pros and cons on webMD at: https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/back-surgery-types#1
One possible side effect that is not mentioned in the WebMD article is scar tissue building up over time at the surgical site that affects the coverings around the spinal cord. This condition called arachnoiditis, (referring to the spinal covering called the arachnoid) causes constant pain. There is very limited treatment that helps arachnoiditis.
Here is another WebMD article on arachnoiditis: Arachnoiditis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments – WebMD
Want to Find Out if we can Help?
If you think you might have a bulging disc or if you have had an MRI that shows a bulging disc and would like to explore your treatment options, give us a call at 978-535-6155 to schedule an initial exam.