A bulging or herniated disk often requires surgery to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with this condition. The recovery process depends largely on the overall health of the patient.
A herniated disk occurs when the gel centre of the disk ruptures through a weak area in the wall of the vertebra. This condition is often extremely painful, as this gel-like material presses on the spinal nerves.
The symptoms of a bulging disk in the neck include radiating pain down the arm, pain in the hand, neck pain, shoulder blade pain, trouble turning your head, muscle weakness in the biceps and triceps, and a decreased grip strength.
Surgery may be performed to relieve pain from bulging disks in the neck. Types of surgeries include anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion, artificial disc replacement, and posterior cervical diskectomy.
Recovery is an individual process that largely depends on your health and physical condition. Other factors that can speed up the recovery process are a positive attitude, performing all strengthening exercises prescribed by your doctor or physical therapist, and returning to work as soon as possible. Your doctor may prescribe medications for pain as well as light-duty work for a few weeks.
As with any surgery, there are risks associated with surgery to repair a bulging cervical disk. These include infection, numbness of the arm or hand, bleeding and problems with general anaesthesia. Consult your doctor prior to surgery to discuss any concerns you may have.