A bulging disc is an abnormality of the spine in which the cartilaginous outer wall of an intervertebral disc has been forced out of its normal boundary and protrudes into the spinal canal. This can occur as a result of degenerative disc disease, in which the disc loses water content and elasticity. This degeneration, which occurs naturally as we age, can weaken the disc wall, which is pushed outward by pressure from everyday spinal movements and the gel-like material in the nucleus of the disc. Most bulging discs are asymptomatic, but when nearby nerves or the spinal cord are compressed, symptoms might arise.
Symptoms Associated With a Bulging Disc
A bulging disc most commonly occurs in the lower back, because the relative flexibility and weight-bearing function of the lumbar region of the spine make it particularly vulnerable to disc degeneration. Indications can vary, depending on the severity and location of the bulging disc, but in general, these potentially debilitating symptoms include:
- Localized pain at the site of the nerve compression
- Pain that radiates from the site of the compression to another part of the body
- Tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness that occurs in a part of the body innervated by the compressed nerve
Treatment for a Bulging Disc
Symptoms arising from this condition normally can be managed conservatively using non-surgical treatment methods such as physical therapy, behavior modification, hot/cold therapy, or pain medication. However, if chronic pain persists despite weeks or months of conservative treatment, surgery might become an option. Laser Spine Institute has been the choice for minimally invasive, outpatient bulging disc treatment for tens of thousands of patients seeking to regain their lives without neck or back pain. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more, and to receive a free review of an MRI or CT scan.