Bulging discs that result in spinal nerve compression may also lead to a loss of sensation in the arms, as well as impair the patient’s ability to move the spine. Achieving pain relief, and thus a return of spinal function, is a primary concern for many patients.
Many bulging discs heal given enough time, with patients recovering in an average of two to three months using conservative treatments. Conservative treatments are performed with the primary goal of providing pain relief, and a secondary goal of avoiding the need for surgery.
Medications are taken primarily to prevent the pain caused by a bulging disc, but may be taken to help with other symptoms that are present.
Over-the-counter pain relievers: For pain that is mild to moderate, the Arizona pain doctor at hand may suggest the patient take these. Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and Aleve are all common over-the-counter pain relievers that many patients are already familiar with.
Narcotics: If the condition does not improve with the OTC pain relievers, the pain doctor in Phoenix is likely to prescribe much stronger pain relievers. Medications such as Vicodin and Lortab are two commonly selected pain relievers. There are some side effects for the patient with this prescription, as sedation, nausea, and constipation may all occur from these.
Muscle Relaxers: These are prescribed to those patients who are having muscle spasms as a result of the bulging disc compressing one or more nerves.
Cortisone Injections: These are a large dosage of anti-inflammatory medication injected directly into the area of the disc. This injection often stimulates the ability of the disc to repair itself, shortening recovery time and providing some pain relief to the patient. A 2004 study out of Spine showed excellent results for intradiscal injections.
For those having pain due to irritation of the surrounding nerve roots, epidural steroid injections may prove beneficial. This may be a one time injection or a series.
Physical therapists are able to show patients a number of positions the body can be placed in that may provide relief for the disc. For some patients, therapy may take the form of a back brace worn to provide support for the spine.
This support can help relieve some of the weight load the discs are carrying, giving the damaged disc more of an opportunity to repair itself. As pain begins to fade, physical therapy may begin. This often consists of an exercise regimen to strengthen the damaged area with the goal of preventing future injury.
There will be cases where the disc simply does not heal itself as it should. If conservative treatments fail to provide relief for six months, as a last resort for degenerative disc disease surgery can be considered.
Arizona Pain Specialists offers comprehensive therapies for bulging discs and degenerative disc disease. These include treatment with the best pain management doctors in Arizona, Phoenix chiropractors, physical rehab doctors and acupuncture providers at 5 locations in the Valley. These include Phoenix, Scottsdale pain clinic, Glendale, Chandler pain management and Surprise.
Over 50 insurances are accepted along with self pay. For more information and scheduling, call the leading pain clinics in Arizona at (602) 507-6550.