Treatment for a Bulging Neck Disc

Updated April 17, 2017

Neck pain can be caused by a number of problems, including a bulging disc. A bulging disc occurs when the disc's outter covering tears and the cushioning jelly inside seeps out. This causes the disc to bulge. The pain associated with a bulging disc comes from the seeping bulge putting pressure on the nerves that are in close quarters with the discs. Treatment depends on the severity of the bulge, as well as the pain. There are a few types of treatment; they can each be prescribed alone, or in accordance with other treatments.

Pain Medication

Many times, pain medication is prescribed for a bulging disc. Because a bulging disc can bring alot of pain, coupled with numbness and tingling in extremities affected by the bulge, your doctor may prescribe medication to help ease these symptoms. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may be placed on the pain medication for several weeks, or you could be on it for a year or more. Steroidal medications are also beneficial for bulging discs. They not only aid with the pain, but they help to keep the swelling down, which can also increase pain in the affected area. Pain medication many times is ordered in conjunction with other forms of treatment. Although pain medication can make living with a bulging neck disc more comfortable and easier to live with, it will not take all the symptoms, nor all the pain away.


Physiotherapy is an option that is often times prescribed to patients with a bulging neck disc. Thre are several different forms of treatment. Traction is one common form of treatment used in physiotherapy. Traction is used to help open the joints of the neck and decompress the discs in the neck. There have been good results with traction for bulging discs. Studies have shown that at least 85 per cent of people who have traction for bulging discs, get their discs to go back into its natural position. Physiotherapy will teach you exercises that can be used to strengthen your back and neck. By strengthening your neck and back it will help to take pressure off the spine, which in turn will allow the bulging disc to heal. When these areas are weak, the spine does not align correctly and can cause more problems with the bulging disc.


Surgery is a common option for the treatment of a bulging neck disc. This procedure is preformed by a spine surgeon and is considered a reliable and promising form of treatment. Most people who have disc surgery get good results with very limited pain afterwards. The surgery, called an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion, entails the surgeon removing the bulging disc. The space between the remaining discs is then fused together. Many times the surgeon will add a metal plate to the fused area for better stability, better fusion, and less pain due to less movement. One procedure entails not adding the fusion and allowing the bone graft to fuse on its own. This procedure is called an anterior discectomy without spine fusion. There are always risks associated with surgery, and for this surgery risks include damage to the trachea, oesophagus, or the voice box. There can also be a problem with the fusion, which would cause the surgeon to have to refuse the spine. There is also a small chance that there could be damage to a nerve root, or the spinal cord. Surgery requires a lot of thought and consideration. If you do not feel comfortable with one surgeon's recommendations, you should get a second opinion.

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About the Author

Maria Richmond has been a North Carolina-based freelance writer since the late 1990s. She writes children's books, fiction, non-fiction and has begun work on her autobiography. She currently writes medical articles and has had over three hundred published between the different companies she writes for.