A bulging disc is often painful and debilitating. In many patients, surgery is required to repair the bulging disc and relieve pain.
A bulging disc may also be referred to as a herniated disc or a pinched nerve. When determining if this condition is present, the doctor considers several factors. These factors are muscle strength, pain in certain positions, and nerve function. Diagnostic tests such as an MRI or X-rays may also be used to make this diagnosis.
The symptoms of a herniated disc in the neck are arm pain, numbness and tingling down the arm and into the fingers. Muscle weakness may also be present with these symptoms. The symptoms of a herniated disc in the lower back are numbness and pain in the top of the foot, loss of ankle strength, and pain radiating from the back into the buttocks.
The surgery required to repair a bulging or herniated disc takes the pressure off of the root of the nerve and provides relief from pain. Many surgeons perform a microdiscectomy to remove the bulging disc. This is usually done in an outpatient facility, and is a minimally invasive surgery.
Approximately 10 percent of patients will experience a second disc herniation at the same location the surgery was performed. This is most common within the first three months following surgery. If a disc experiences multiple herniations, then a fusion of the disc may be necessary.
Surgery to repair a bulging disc can provide pain relief. However, there are risks that are involved with this procedure. As with any surgery, there are risks with general anesthesia. It is important to consult your doctor with any concerns you may have prior to surgery.