You’re unable to shift in your car seat to see behind you or bend over to pick anything up. These are common problems when it comes to a bulging disc, which can send shooting pain from your lower back down into your leg with certain movements.
While a bulging disc will often heal on its own given enough time, you want your pain-free life back while it does. Luckily, Dr. Anjum Bux and our experienced team of spine specialists here at Bux Pain Management have the perfect solution — epidural injections.
In this month’s blog post, we take a look at how epidural injections can provide you with much-needed relief from the pain and discomfort that comes with a bulging disc.
Why does a bulging disc cause pain?
Your lower back is composed of five large vertebrae that are separated by intervertebral discs that provide cushioning and support. In addition to these structures, your lower back also features five pairs of lumbar nerves that exit your spinal canal to form part of your peripheral nervous system.
When one of the discs in your lower back bulges out of its space, it can irritate one of these sensitive nerve roots, which can lead to lower back pain, as well as pain that radiates down the nerve. Sciatica is the most common example of this — when this large nerve is irritated, it can lead to pain, as well as numbness and tingling, that can extend down into one of your legs.
The primary reason a cervical disc bulges in the first place is typically due to degenerative disc disease, a condition in which your discs lose moisture and flatten out. Degenerative disc disease is usually caused by wear-and-tear, and it affects 5-20 out of 1,000 people, typically in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.
Managing the pain through epidural injections
In most cases, a bulging disc will heal on its own if you practice patience and take it easy on your lower back. That said, you rely on your lower back for most everything so “taking it easy” is a tall order.
To provide you with relief as you weather the healing period, we often recommend epidural injections. With these injections, we deliver a local anesthetic to control the pain and a steroid to control the inflammation directly into the space where the nerve root is irritated.
When we deliver the injection, we use a technique called fluoroscopy (live X-ray) to guide us. The injection takes us only minutes to deliver, and you should realize pain relief about 3-5 days after your injection.
If you would like to get relief from your bulging disc with an epidural injection, contact one of our locations in Lexington, Maysville, Cynthiana, or Danville, Kentucky, to set up an appointment.