What Is a Bulging Disc?
A bulging disc is the result of a shift in the disk that separates the vertebrae. Unlike a herniated disc, the disc is not damaged or ruptured. Instead, it merely shifts out of place. They may be the result of the natural aging process or injury.
Discs are made of cartilage and a jelly-like water substance. These circular discs exist between the vertebrae of the spine. They provide an essential cushion to reduce comfort and ensure vertebrae are spaced out.
What Causes a Bulging Disc?
Generally bulging discs are caused simply by wear and tear on the spine that comes with age. As we grow older, our spines will degrade and wear down. That being said, you might also suffer a bulging disc from traumatic accidents like car accidents or a sports injury.
What Are Common Symptoms of a Bulging Disc?
In general, the most common symptoms of bulging discs include numbness, pain, and weakness. However, the specific areas affected will depend on where the impacted disc is located.
Bulging discs often put pressure on the spinal cord, causing discomfort or pain in the back, hips, or legs. This may also result in weakness, tingling, or numbness in the legs.
Bulging discs may also occur in the cervical spine, causing pain or discomfort in the neck. In some cases, this may also result in pain in the shoulders. This pain may extend to the arms and fingers.
For some, there is no pain in the neck or back as a result of a bulging disc. Patients may only feel the pain in their shoulders/arms or hips and legs. If you notice any changes or have concerns about your spinal health, it is important to pursue a professional opinion.
What Are My Treatment Options for a Bulging Disc?
For most, a bulging or herniated disc does not require surgery. Conservative treatments are most often recommended. Pain medications, nerve healing medications, anti-inflammatory medications, or muscle relaxers can be prescribed, as well as a brace and a proper exercise routine taught by a licensed therapist.
Frequently Asked Questions about Bulging Disc
1. Will a bulging disc heal on its own?
In 90% of cases, pain from a bulging disc can go away on its own with proper rest.