BULGING DISC

Disc disorders are contained or non-contained. A bulging disc is an example of a contained disc disorder. A bulging disc has not broken open; the nucleus pulposus (new-klee-us pul-poe-sis) remains contained within the anulus fibrosus (an-you-lus fye-bro-sis). A bulging disc could be compared to a volcano prior to eruption and may be a precursor to herniation. The disc may protrude into the spinal canal without breaking open. The gel-like interior (nucleus pulposus) does not leak out. The disc remains intact except a small bubble pops out attached to the disc.

A bulging disk is a condition related to the spine, usually the lumbar, or lower back, that occurs when a disk bulges through a crevice in the spine. Disks are the soft, gelatinous material that cushions the vertebrae of the spine. A bulging disk occurs when the disk shifts out of its normal radius and most often occurs simply as a result of age.

A bulging disk is different from a herniated disk in that a bulging disk typically occurs gradually over time rather than suddenly. A herniated disk is often the result of an injury or trauma to the spine. In the majority of patients who experience a bulging disk, there is no pain unless the disk becomes herniated or protrudes into a nerve.

In many cases, a bulging disk may be diagnosed as a condition secondary to another problem. Because a bulging disk does not always cause pain, it may only be found during a routine or diagnostic imaging test such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Typically, a bulging disk is not a problem unless it begins to cause pain, becomes herniated or ruptures.

Treatment for a bulging disk or even a herniated disk is relatively conservative in most cases. Rest and lifting restrictions are common, and a doctor may recommend a anti-inflammatory medications to deal with any associated pain.

Though usually a condition affecting the lower back, occasionally, a bulging disk may occur in the neck area. Usually, pain that radiates to the shoulders and arms indicates that a nerve in the neck may be pinched or pushed upon. In the lower back, pain may sometimes radiate to the legs.

A physical examination by your doctor will help determine where your discomfort may be coming from and whether the problem arose gradually or suddenly. In most cases, conservative treatment relieves the problem.

Bulging Disc Cause

A bulging disc is a condition related to the spine, most often in the lumbar region (lower back) and occurs when a disc bulges through a crevice in the spine. Discs are soft, circular, gelatinous (jellylike) material that cushions the vertebrae of the spine. A bulging disc occurs when the disc shifts out of its normal radius.

The cause of bulging discs is usually a trauma of some sort. Whether it be a car accident, or lifting something heavy, these are the types of traumas that may cause this condition to develop.

There are other factors that cause this condition as well. Heredity plays a role, so if you have a family member (or members) who have developed a back condition, you may have a genetic predisposition to develop a back bulging disc.

Your lifestyle also plays a role in the development of bulging discs. Smokers, for examples, tend to have a higher likelihood of developing a bulging back disc because toxins will break down the strong wall of the disc. Poor diet also plays a role, as well as a lack of exercise.

Symptoms

Numbness in the arms and legs is a common symptom of a bulging cervical disc. This is indicative of a disc putting pressure on a spinal nerve. Pain radiating in the arms is also a symptom as is pain in the cervical area of the neck.

Risks of Bulging Disc

The condition manifests in the form of symptoms that are indicative of the region affected. Pain and discomfort in the hips, legs, arms, neck and lower back should not be ignored, if persistent. The risk factors ushered in with such ignorance include the development of the soft-tissue bulge into a herniated disc and sometimes, rupturing of the bulge. This not only worsens the condition, but also ends up in restricted movement and abnormal posture.

Related Spinal Disorders

Sciatica

Sciatica

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Herniated Discs

Herniated Discs

Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis

Sciatica Causes

Sciatica Causes

Neck Pain

Neck Pain

Ruptured Disc

Ruptured Disc

Lumbar Spondylosis

Lumbar Spondylosis

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

Bulging Disc

Bulging Disc

Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

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Herniated Discs Animation Video

 

Herniated Discs Animation Video Transcript

The backbone, or spinal column, consists of a series of bones called vertebrae, that connect the skull to the pelvis. The vertebrae are separated and cushioned by discs, which are filled with a jelly-like substance that acts as a shock absorber between each vertebrae.

Nestled inside a channel running from the brain to the base of the spine is the spinal cord. From the spinal cord, nerves branch out to the arms, legs and other parts of the body. It is through the spinal cord and connecting nerves that the brain sends signals to the body allowing movement and all body functions.

Trauma or injury to the back can cause the cushioning discs to rupture or to protrude (herniate) from the spinal column; the disc then presses on the branching nerves.

Pressure on a nerve can be painful, and because these nerves travel to other parts of the body, pain, tingling or numbness can be felt in other parts of the body.

Treatment of a ruptured disc depends on the severity of the injury.

 

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