A bulging disc is a condition that is actually quite common, and sometimes there are no symptoms present with the condition, which can make it difficult to identify in the early stages. However, for some people, a high level of pain will be experienced, along with varying levels of discomfort. Some patients even experience high levels of pain that make it difficult for them to complete certain day-to-day activities. There are different causes of pain related to a bulging disc, methods of detection, and treatment options available.
A herniated disc is a common injury that can affect any part of the spine. A herniated disc can cause severe pain and other problems in the arms or legs.
- In most cases, bulging discs do not pose any risk. The disc may be bulged, but unless it is pressing on one of the surrounding areas, minimal pain, if any, is present.
- A bulging disc is often misdiagnosed, because when it comes in contact with the surrounding nerves and does cause pain to occur. The pain can occur anywhere in the body – from the head to the feet, making it a difficult condition to diagnose.
- In some cases, a simple, regular exercise routine can push the disc back into its original place.
- In about 90 percent of cases, this condition will occur in the lower back, spinal region, or the lumbar area.
As mentioned, many times there are not any symptoms present and the condition can last for years without detection. However, when the disc comes in contact with nerves, it can cause several different symptoms. Nerves that are compressed around the spinal area will cause pain that can travel through the hips, legs, buttocks, and feet. In the cervical area of the spine, the pain will often occur within the neck, down one or both arms, and even in the fingers.
In some cases, sciatic nerve pain can occur from the disc displacement, which is common when the disc is located within the lumbar area. While there are many different locations that the pain may occur in, a bulging disc is generally detected when pain is occurring, and tests rule out other possible causes.
Like other similar conditions, imaging technology is often used to detect a bulging disc. However, your physician will examine the different regions of the back where this condition occurs and apply pressure. By applying pressure to the disc, you can tell them if you experience any pain, which makes the area a suspect of the possible location of the issue. Once your physical overview has narrowed down the possible locations, the specialist can use X-rays, MRIs, or other tools to see if the condition is present, to determine which nerves the disc is coming in contact with, and what leads to the pain.
There is a ring within your discs, called the fibrous containment ring, and this risk is responsible for keeping the disc in place. However, when the out ring is no longer strong enough to hold the ring in place, which often occurs due to aging or injury, the disc can come out of place. Certain lifestyle choices can cause this condition to occur quicker, such as heavy lifting. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and using a regular exercise routine, the change of developing this condition is reduced.
The type of treatment used for your bulging disc is dependent upon the location of the condition, the amount of pain present, and others related factors. For some patients, the doctor may suggest home techniques that can be used to relieve pain within the area and also to encourage natural healing. However, in some cases, where the condition is causing severe pain or leading to other issues within the region, surgery may be used to correct the condition by putting the disc back into place, as well as using techniques to prevent it from coming loose again.