A bulging or herniated disk occurs when the outer covering of the cartilage between the spinal vertebrae tears. Consequently, the jelly-like nucleus inside the disk gets pushed to the weaker side and causes the disk to bulge and put pressure on spinal nerves. This can cause severe pain and discomfort. Most bulging disks occur in the L5 or lower lumbar area which is toward the bottom of the spine, where it curves. Treatment for a bulging L5 disk usually includes a combination of rest, immobilization, ice, heat, medication and exercise.
Things You'll Need
- Ice pack
- Back brace
- Heating pad
Treating Your Bulging L5 Disc
Stop all physical activity or working out immediately. During this time, wear a back brace when you need to be mobile. Take two ibuprofen pills every 4 to 6 hours throughout the day.
Put ice inside an ice pack or towel and place it beneath your lower back at the center of the pain source. Keep the ice there for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat every 3 to 4 hours throughout the day.
Once the initial inflammation has subside, use a heating pad on your lower back several times per day.
Once you start using heat, perform the following exercise: Lie on your back with your knees propped up and both feet on the floor. Slowly press your lower back against the floor and hold that position for 2 to 5 seconds. Relax, then repeat 10 total repetitions.
While still lying on your back, grab both knees and slowly pull them toward your chest. Hold that position for 2 to 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat this movement 10 times.