Bulging Disc FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions You may Have About Your Diagnosis
If you’ve been diagnosed with a bulging disc, you’re not alone. Here, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that patients have when they’re diagnosed with a bulging disc.
Q. What is a bulging disc?
A. A bulging disc is a condition that occurs when the inside portion of a spinal disc starts to push against the outer rim. This, in turn, causes a characteristic “bulge.” If the bulge pushes through the rim completely and creates a tear, it is then considered to be a herniated disc.
Q. What causes a bulging disc?
A. Bulging discs are typically caused by age-related degeneration. A disc’s outer ring weakens naturally over time, and pressure from everyday wear and tear can cause the inner core to bulge out. Although the degenerative process cannot be reversed, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and focusing on good posture can help minimize the effects of age-related damage.
Q. What are the symptoms?
A. Typically, a bulging disc will not cause any symptoms unless the bulge presses up against one of the spinal nerves (or the spinal cord itself.) When this occurs, it can cause pain, tingling and muscle weakness. If the affected disc is located in the lower, or lumbar, part of the spine, the symptoms may extend through the legs, hips, buttocks and feet. If the disc is located in the upper, or cervical, part of the spine, the symptoms may be felt in the shoulders, arms, forearms and hands.
Q. What are some treatment options?
A. Physicians will often recommend conservative therapies for the first few months of treatment. For instance, patients may be told to use a regimen of stretching, exercise, pain medications and anti-inflammatory medications, with or without additional alternative treatments such as acupuncture. For many patients, these treatments are enough to help keep symptoms under control.
Q. Will I need surgery?
A. This depends on the severity and location of your bulging disc, as well as your body’s response to your initial treatments. Most patients are able to successfully manage their condition without surgery, but surgical options (such as a minimally invasive discectomy) may be recommended for more advanced cases. If you’d like assistance evaluating your options, contact Laser Spine Institute today.