Can a bulging disc heal?

Updated July 19, 2017

A bulging disc, or a disc that protrudes into the spinal cord and causes massive pain, may require treatment over an extended period. With the right treatment and care, a bulging disc can be fully healed.

Dangers of a Bulging Disc

Bulging discs affect adults and children alike. If they are left untreated, a bulging disc can result in a complete herniation. Also, without treatment, chronic and severe pain will be an issue. According the Mayo Clinic, bulging discs are more common than herniated discs, but may be present even without any pain symptoms.

Chiropractic Adjustments

Sometimes, the bulging disc is more painful because of your posture or the way you sleep. A chiropractor can help solve that problem by aligning your back. While these adjustments don't always offer immediate relief, chiropractic care can be helpful over time. Also, according to, massage therapy can also help loosen the muscles around the area and decrease pain.

Ice, Heat, and Exercise

Common techniques for alleviating swelling are also used with back problems. Alternating ice and heat can reduce the disc's swelling. Rest will help you stay away from the things that aggravate your bulging disc, like lifting. Doctors also recommend stretching exercises, such as yoga, to reduce tension.


Doctors will often prescribe muscle relaxers or strong pain medications for people with bulging or herniated discs. They also recommend aspirin to reduce the swelling. Doctors also use epidural injections of steroids, which alleviate pain by reducing swelling. However, these injections provide only temporary relief.


The quickest and must successful way to heal a bulging disc is through surgery, but doctors usually opt to exhaust their non-surgical options first. Surgery can repair the bulging disc and physiotherapy can help speed recovery time, which is usually eight to twelve weeks.

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About the Author

Corianne Egan is a journalism major at Rowan University and a freelance writer. She has written sports for Rowan's student newspaper, The Whit, and for the sports website she runs. Egan also specializes in copy editing and photography.