If you’re experiencing back pain, especially in your lower or lumbar spine, you may have heard the terms “herniated” or “bulging” disc thrown around. But what does that really mean? We’ll run through what a bulging disc is, why it can happen and the symptoms or treatments available.
Spine Team Texas gives every patient access to nationally-renowned spine specialists and industry-leading technology across eight convenient locations in the DFW Metroplex. If you think you may be suffering from a bulging disc, then we’re here to help.
What is a Bulging Disc?
A bulging disc occurs when the outer shell becomes weakened, allowing the disc to bulge to one side of the spinal canal, or flatten. This means the disc is literally bulging out of the bones that make up your spinal canal, your vertebrae.
What’s The Difference Between a Bulging and Herniated Disc?
A bulging disc is different from a herniated disc, because a herniated disc is not the disc bulging – it’s the jelly-like center (the nucleus pulposus) herniating into the spinal canal.
Both of them cause severe pain and can limit mobility, and both can be caused by similar injuries and movements.
Why Does a Bulging Disc Happen?
There are a variety of reasons a bulging disc can happen, from an injury through to repetitive movement. Some of the common causes include the following:
- Vehicle accident, or other traumatic injury
- Heavy lifting strain
- Occupation hazard, from repetitive strain
- Poor posture
- Degenerative disc disease, or genetics
What Are The Symptoms of a Bulging Disc?
There are a variety of symptoms that can be experienced from a bulging disc, with some patients even reporting no symptoms for a long time – until an additional trigger takes place.
The most common symptoms reported include:
- Pain that occurs on one side of the body.
- Sharp pain in one part of the leg, hip, or buttocks and numbness in other parts.
- Pain or numbness on the back of the calf or sole of the foot.
What Are The Treatment Options For Bulging Disc?
It’s crucial that you see a licensed medical professional to ensure your pain is properly managed, while also finding the source of your pain. This is the quickest and easiest way to reclaim your life and ease of movement.
Here at Spine Team Texas, the treatment plan provided will be determined by a group of experts. Our team of doctors, physical therapists, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners are all spine-focused and come together to build an individualized plan that could include some of the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Physical therapy.
- Chiropractic care.
- Ultrasound therapy.
- Heat or cold therapy.
- Limited bed rest.
- Braces and support devices.
- Correctional surgery