Bulging Disc Pain

Bulging disc pain is most often found in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine. Although a disc in the cervical (upper) or thoracic (middle) regions can certainly begin to bulge beyond its normal perimeters, the lower back is especially susceptible because of the large amount of weight the lower back is forced to support.

Bulging disc pain, also called slipped disc pain, is actually an extremely common condition. In fact, many people probably have a bulging disc without knowing it. This is because the bulge itself is not the cause of pain. Rather, when the protruding disc comes into contact with spinal nerves, these nerves become pinched, constricted, or trapped and send pain signals to receptors in the brain. And, since a bulging disc is located so close to the nerve highways of the body, disc pain can easily travel to the arms, torso, pelvis, or legs.

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is one of the leading causes of bulging disc pain. DDD is a progressive weakening of the intervertebral discs that occurs as we age. It is completely normal for our discs to deteriorate over the years, but there are several steps you can take to maintain a healthier back, which might help to prevent back disc pain.

  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and try to sleep on your side—this will give your back extra support and will help to reduce inadvertent spine curvature.
  • Always make sure that you stretch or warm-up before you exercise.
  • Quit smoking—smoking reduces overall circulation, especially to the area of the lower spine. Decreased circulation increases the risk of injury and inhibits your body’s ability to heal itself.
  • Eat healthy foods in appropriate amounts—extra body weight only adds to the overall load that your spine must support. Shedding a few pounds could reduce your chance of disc pain. Good nutrition also can encourage healing.

Many people maintain extremely healthy lifestyles and, due to age, gender, or genetic predisposition, still develop back and neck problems. When these patients experience bulging disc pain, they may consider spine surgery. If you feel you need surgery to remove your bulging disc, consider the minimally invasive outpatient alternatives at Laser Spine Institute. Through a small incision, our surgeons can remove bits of bulging disc material and other tissue that is impinging on your spinal nerves, thus removing the source of your pain. Contact us today for more information about the causes of bulging disc pain or herniated disc pain, and for a review of your MRI or CT scan.