Diagnosis and Treatment of Disc Problems

Question: Other options for treating a bulging disc?

I was out of work for 17 months with lower back pain. After two years, I am still experiencing the lower back pain, and my MRI scan shows that I have a bulging disc. So far, the exercises prescribed by my doctor have not helped with lower back pain relief.

What are some other options for treating a herniated disc?

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Doctor’s response: Obtain an accurate clinical diagnosis of your disc pain first

A bulging disc (often called a herniated disc) in and of itself is not necessarily painful. First, you need to obtain a more accurate diagnosis of what is causing your lower back pain. The pain may be from the actual discs or the pain may be the result of another condition. The appropriate treatment option depends on the cause of the pain.

I would recommend that you meet with a spine specialist, such as an orthopedic spine surgeon, neurosurgeon or physiatrist, to obtain an accurate clinical diagnosis. Basic treatment options for low back pain caused by a bulging (herniated) disc often include medications, physical therapy, manipulation, injections and occasionally surgery or other invasive procedures.

In almost all cases of lower back pain, exercise and physical activity play an important role in rehabilitation and long-term pain relief. For this reason, it is important to meet with an appropriately-trained back health professional (such as a physical therapist) to ensure that you are performing the recommended exercises properly and to develop a home exercise program.

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In Spine-health’s Doctor Advice section, physicians respond to frequently asked questions about back pain issues. These responses represent the opinion of one physician, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the broader medical community. The advice presented has not been peer reviewed by Spine-health’s medical advisory board.

Written by Medical Reviewer