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Have mild posterior diffuse disc bulge. Recovery period?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2000
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hello dr. can a mild posterior diffuse disc bulge L4,L5 goes back to normal? and how long do you it could take normally.
Posted Fri, 4 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Atul Wankhede 2 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.

Yes, a diffuse disc bulge at any level has a chance of coming back to normal. All it takes is adequate rest, limited but necessary muscle relaxant medications, lifestyle modifications and a week or two of physiotherapy. Its difficult to say how long it takes, but on an average the symptoms subside in 2-3 weeks and comes to normal in a month or two.

It is important to note the stages of disc pathologies. A 'bulge' is a term used when the disc is very much in position, but only slightly shifted posteriorly to put pressure on either a traversing nerve root, exiting nerve root or spinal cord itself. Next comes 'disc protrusion' where it tears the membrane (posterior longitudinal ligament) that limits its position. Eventually comes 'extrusion' where it completely tears the membrane and lies in cord canal. And finally comes 'sequestration' where it dislodges to an entirely different location.

The point of explaining all this is, yours is a relatively early stage whose progress can be halted here itself. My final opinion is that medications and physiotherapy are temporary management, the long term treatment is back strengthening exercises. They will help you overcome this condition that you have at an early age in future. Ask your physiotherapist to teach you those exercises and do them regularly only after the pain subsides completely. Also lifestyle modifications such as avoiding forward bending, avoiding lifting heavy objects, obesity reduction, diabetes control, regular exercises and healthy diet helps long way.

Hope this answer was informative. If there's more I can help you with, do let me know. I'm available for follow up. Please accept my answer in case you have no follow up queries.


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