Bulging Disc Epidural

Back Surgery Information

Bulging Disc Epidural

A bulging disc epidural is a procedure used to alleviate the pain caused by a bulging disc in the back. A bulging disc is a condition which is fairly common among older people due to the weakening of the back muscles resulting in a spinal disc protruding out of alignment or the gel within the disc escaping and touching a nerve. When the herniated disc compresses the nerves in the spinal column leading to pain, an epidural injection is often used to relieve the discomfort and pain.

An epidural works by way of an injection which delivers steroids straight to the area where it is needed. It can also be used to remedy inflammatory symptoms which are a side effect of the nagging pressure exerted by the herniated disc. It is termed a bulging disc epidural because it specifically targets the epidural space, which is that portion in the back just outside the dural membrane. Usually in a bulging disc epidural, doctors rely on sophisticated imaging techniques to visualize the correct location of the injection in order to deliver the maximum relief to the patient.

Preparing for a bulging disc epidural depends on the exact nature of the condition but it typically involves at least one, if not all, of the following steps:

Alteration of one’s medication schedule to prevent conflict with the specific type of medication delivered via the epidural.

Cutting back on food and drinks in order to prevent unnecessary digestive reactions such as an upset stomach.

Relieving yourself in the restroom before taking the epidural to you more comfortable and relaxed even when a relaxant or local anesthesia is used to eliminate the sensitivity where the epidural is delivered.

An epidural does not require any prolonged recovery although rest is highly recommended before and after the procedure. Having someone that can drive you home immediately after getting a bulging disc epidural is important to prevent any undue stress shortly after you get the injection.

The secret to the success of a bulging disc epidural lies in the exact determination of doctors as to what is needed to remedy the patient’s specific condition. For example, corticosteroids are commonly used for anti-inflammatory purposes as a means to control swelling and relieve the pressure on pressed nerve roots.

The benefits of an epidural are essential for moderating the pain both in the short-term and on an extended basis. However, doctors do not recommend getting regular epidural shots because of the risks associated with infection at the injection site, or in very rare cases, headaches due to the medication. The nerves at the site of the injection may also be damaged due to the trauma and in certain cases, temporary paralysis is expected by patients resulting in loss of bowel and bladder control.

When a bulging disc epidural no longer works, doctors will likely recommend surgery to remedy the condition in the long-term. As such, an epidural works as a bridge treatment option, either to test whether surgery is necessary or not, or to give the patient temporary relief while waiting for the surgery date. In essence, a bulging disc epidural is a reliable treatment option but it can only do so much to remedy the pain. Where possible, it should be explored as a means to avoid surgery but the necessary precautions and objectivity should be adopted so that patients and doctors alike can recognize its limitations and move on to planning for surgical intervention whenever the condition calls for it to be such.

Before a bulging disc epidural is administered, there are many other non invasive types of treatment that can be tried. An epidural would probably only be used when rest, medication and other therapies have failed. However, there are times when an epidural gives the patient just enough relief for the herniated disc to heal itself.