Bulging disc pain occurs when an intervertebral disc bulges or protrudes into any of the tiny spaces in the spinal canal where the nerve roots and the spinal cord are located. When this happens, nerve tissue is squeezed, or pinched. As anyone who has ever been diagnosed with a bulging disc knows, back or neck pain from this condition – as well as the symptoms that travel to other parts of the body – can be excruciating.
Interestingly, a bulging disc may show up on an MRI or CT scan (performed for any number of health reasons), before the patient ever experiences pain or other common bulging disc symptoms. That’s because a person can be symptom-free if the disc isn’t pressing on any nerve roots or the spinal cord. However, when a bulging disc is squeezing nerves in your spinal canal, it can cause pain at the site of the damaged disc, as well as pain, numbness, and tingling sensations that radiate to other parts of your body, including the buttocks, lower back, legs, shoulders, arms, feet, and hands.
Pain associated with a bulging disc can become worse when you are active. Any of these bodily movements can trigger bulging disc pain:
Intervertebral discs tend to bulge when they lose their elasticity, or cushioning ability, which can cause them to collapse and protrude into the spinal canal. Disc deterioration is mainly due to age or damage from a bodily injury. For more detailed information on why discs bulge and cause pain, click on our bulging disc causes page.
If your bulging disc pain is severe, you may want to consider a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure offered by the Laser Spine Institute to help you get relief. We will gladly review of your MRI or CT scan for free to see if you are a good candidate for any of our outpatient bulging disc treatments.