Spinal discs can be thought of as tough, flexible pads that are between the vertebrae in the spine. A bulging disc occurs when one of these pads gets out of alignment with the vertebrae on either side. The result is severe pain and increased pressure on the spine, arms and legs.
If a patient suffers from a bulging disc, the first important steps are rest and limitations on lifting. Physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture and medications may be tried next. If pain relief has not been achieved, spinal epidural steroids may be necessary. Surgery is a last option. Surgery would involve a large incision, substantial bone and muscle removal, blood loss, general anesthesia and several required hospital days. Post-op recovery could range from a few months to a year.