Bulged Disc in Neck: Treatment, Symptoms, and Signs

Bulged Disc in Neck: Treatment, Symptoms, and Signs

Bulged Disc in Neck: Treatment, Symptoms, and Signs

A bulging disc can form in the neck when a spinal disc is out of place. When the disc is damaged, the interior substance of the disc leaks out. This can lead to a herniated disc. Both of these disorders can cause neck pain.


There are numerous ways to treat a bulging disc in the neck. You must be aware of what those things are. However, remember that nothing beats the advice and assistance of a professional.


What is a bulged disc?

When a spinal disc weakens and encroaches on the spinal cord, it results in a bulging disc in the neck. Symptoms of this include discomfort in the shoulders, arms, and back. An acute injury can cause a bulging disc in the neck to the area. It is possible for a bulging disc in the neck to be caused by long-term damage, such as bad posture or obesity. As we become older, our spines weaken, increasing the likelihood of a neck disc bulging.


A herniated disk can be extremely painful, restrict mobility, and negatively impact a person’s quality of life if a person has a bulging disk. Bulging discs can also cause weakness and inability to control one’s bladder.


Bulging Disc vs. Herniated Disc

The disc’s outer wall is intact in a bulging disc, but the disc extends beyond the disc’s circumference by greater than 180 degrees. In contrast, a herniated disc occurs when an outer wall of a bulging disc is torn, enabling the interior fluid of the disc to leak out.


If you have a herniated disc, knowing the difference is crucial. A damaged disc can bulge into the spinal canal and cause pain. There is still no sign that a bulging disc has breached its outer wall (ruptured). A “herniated disc” occurs when the outer layer of the disc tears and the soft interior portion of the disc leaks out. A bulging disc can turn into a herniated disc. Therefore it’s crucial to recognize that this can happen.


Signs and symptoms

A herniated disc in your neck can cause pain that radiates down your arm and even into your hand. Other possible symptoms include shoulder blade pain and neck discomfort when bending or turning your head, as well as numbness and tingling in the armpit. Muscle spasms may occasionally occur (meaning the muscles tighten uncontrollably).


Depending on which disc has herniated and which nerve root has been pinched or inflamed, patients may experience a wide range of symptoms. If the spinal cord is damaged, the pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness can spread to both arms or lower body. It is also possible to lose bowel and bladder control.



Spinal discs serve as a cushion for the spine, preventing damage. Degradation and deterioration of the discs occur over time. A bulging disc is most prevalent between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae. There is constant pressure on this area due to the upper body’s weight. Daily activities such as bending, lifting, and torso twisting (side to side rotation) place stress on the lower back.


Degenerative disc disease is the most common cause of bulging discs. Some other factors that contribute to bulging discs are strain or injury, obesity, smoking, poor posture, and inactivity. 



As a general rule, nonsurgical treatment options are effective in most situations. These include over-the-counter pain medications, exercise, cold or heat packs, and activity changes to avoid unpleasant motions until the pain subsides.


Bulging discs in the neck can be treated with physical therapy and exercises. Gentle neck stretching and exercises to strengthen its muscles are part of this routine.


Additionally, pain medication and surgery are offered as additional options.



Most of the time, pain from a herniated disc will go away on its own within six months, according to research. As a first step, your doctor may prescribe that you take a pain reliever and avoid activities that cause discomfort.



Other treatments, such as ice or heat therapy, may provide some comfort from a cervical herniated disc. Pain and inflammation can be reduced by applying ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Using heat for 15 or 20 minutes at a time may also be beneficial for some.



Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as steroids, can help alleviate your neck pain as you recuperate from your injury. Depending on the severity of your neck pain and the type of cervical disc problem, you can take these medications alone or use them in conjunction with physical therapy or other treatments. 


Cervical disc disease is typically treated with the following medications:


  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Narcotic painkillers
  • Steroids
  • Muscle Relaxants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA)

Physical therapy

Since the surgical intervention is not always an option for people with bulging discs, physical therapy is critical to their recovery. Physical therapists can utilize passive and active ways to alleviate pain and enhance mobility.


Holistic therapy 

A complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioner is essential if you’re considering treatments such as acupuncture, acupressure, and massage. Even though complementary and alternative medicine uses the same methods, they differ because complementary treatments are used in conjunction with conventional medicine. In contrast, alternative treatments are used as a stand-in for conventional treatments.



There is no need for surgery for the vast majority of disc bulges, which is preferred when possible. Because of its position, a cervical disc bulge is more likely to necessitate surgical intervention than other types of bulges.


Anterior cervical discectomy & fusion (ACDF)

Surgery to remove the herniated or degenerative discs in the neck is called an anterior cervical discectomy (ACDF). The disc is removed by making an incision in the throat. Fusion of the bones above and below the disc is achieved by inserting a graft.


For a full recovery to occur, it could take between three and six months. Results can take several months, but each patient’s situation is unique, and those with more severe health issues may take longer.


Artificial disc replacement

As a relatively new method, cervical artificial disc replacement surgery has been proved to be safe and successful in alleviating pain in the neck and arms caused by a pinched nerve root or spinal cord.


Minimally invasive microendoscopic discectomy

The disc and nerves can be viewed directly using an endoscope in a microendoscopic discectomy. Decompression of nerve roots injured by compressed spinal discs is the goal of this procedure.


Posterior cervical discectomy 

In the back of your neck, the surgeon makes a small incision. The bone vertebra must be exposed by dissecting the spinal muscles and moving them aside. A portion of the bone arch is cut away to access the nerve root and disc space. Disc fragments that are putting pressure on the spinal nerve are meticulously removed. The gaps through which nerve roots escape the spine are routinely expanded to prevent future pinching. 


Contact Stridewell to learn more about the bulged disc in neck treatment.

A physician should evaluate the discomfort, tingling, or numbness in your arm or hand. A herniated disc may be to blame, and the therapy depends on the severity of the symptoms and the extent of the nerve damage. 


Bulging disks can be treated by visiting a pain management clinic and getting quality physical therapy. The good news is that with conservative care alone, most discs heal in six to three months! Stridewell is excellent for bulging disks in the neck. Give us a call right away.

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