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Bulging Disc FAQ


Q: What is a bulging disc?

A: A bulging disc is a spinal disc that is protruding beyond its normal boundaries.

Q: What is a herniated disc?

A: As a disc degenerates and bulges outward, it can also herniate, meaning the disc breaks open and allows its inner core to extrude into the spinal canal. Once it breaks open, a bulging disc is referred to as a herniated disc. In casual conversation, you also may hear various non-medical terms for disc problems such as “slipped disc” and “ruptured disc.”

Q: What causes bulging discs?

A: Bulging discs causes can vary from patient to patient. Often, the condition occurs simply because aging deteriorates the disc. Repetitive movements can also be a cause, as can strenuous lifting and twisting. In addition, bulging can be caused by spinal bone spurs pushing out on the disc, collapsed space between vertebrae and other degenerative conditions.

Q: Why does a bulging disc become painful?

A: The reason a bulging disc is so painful is because the disc bulge applies pressure to the nerves of the spine, causing numbness and/or pain to extend throughout the length of the affected nerve(s). Not only can this be incredibly painful, but it can also be disabling.

Q: Where does the bulging disc occur?

A: A bulging disc can occur anywhere along the spine. A bulging disc in the lower back is called a lumbar bulging disc or sciatica. In this location, a bulging disc can cause discomfort and shooting pain in the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet. If the damaged disc is located in the neck, the condition is called a cervical bulging disc, which can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers . As you can see, the nature of the symptoms usually depends upon the precise location of the affected disc in the spine.

Q: What happens if I choose not have surgery?

A: Bulging disc symptoms can stay permanently. If your main symptom is pain, it will depend on your tolerance level whether or not you’ll be able to have an active life. If there is muscle weakness, it will probably affect walking, and you may have to either reduce or sacrifice some of your favorite activities. Basically, a bulging disc can affect your lifestyle.

Q: What is my prognosis after bulging disc surgery?

A: With the advancements made in modern medicine, minimally invasive procedures, like the ones offered by Laser Spine Institute, have addressed this concern. Living a life relieved of neck and back pain is now an option for many people.

Q: When should I seek medical attention?

A: If your chronic pain is affecting your quality of life, it’s time to see a physician. Recommended treatment for a severe bulging disc is generally open back surgery, which comes with high risks, hospital stays and lengthy recuperation time. Laser Spine Institute has perfected a streamlined patient experience, and now, bulging disc treatment can be accomplished within 5 days.

Q: How do I find out if I have a bulging disc?

A: A bulging disc diagnosis is usually made after a complete medical history has been taken and MRIs or CT scans have confirmed the presence of bulging discs. Laser Spine Institute offers a free MRI or CT scan review and, if you are a candidate, you can come in for further evaluation.

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