Bulging Disc FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions You may Have About Your Diagnosis
If you’ve been diagnosed with a bulging disc, you’re not alone. Here, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that patients have when they’re diagnosed with a bulging disc.
Q. What is a bulging disc?
A. A bulging disc is a condition that occurs when the soft inner material of a spinal disc pushes against a weakened outer layer. This pressure can cause the outer layer to bulge out of its normal perimeter in the spinal column.
Q. What causes a bulging disc?
A. Bulging discs are typically caused by age-related degeneration. A disc’s outer ring weakens naturally over time, and pressure from everyday wear and movement can allow the inner core to bulge out. Although the degenerative process cannot be reversed, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and having good posture can reduce the risk of a bulging disc developing.
Q. What are the symptoms?
A. Typically, bulging disc symptoms are related to compression of spinal nerves. A bulging disc can narrow the nerve passageways in the spine, potentially constricting a nerve root or the spinal cord. When this occurs, it can cause pain, tingling and muscle weakness. If the affected disc is located in the lower, or lumbar, part of the spine, the symptoms may extend through the legs, hips, buttocks and feet. If the disc is located in the upper, or cervical, part of the spine, the symptoms may be felt in the neck, shoulders, arms and hands.
Q. Are there effective treatment options?
A. Doctors will often recommend conservative therapies for the first few months of treatment. For instance, patients may be prescribed a course of rest, exercise, medication, physical therapy and epidural steroid injections. Some people also seek out alternative treatments like chiropractic adjustment or acupuncture. For many patients, these treatments are able to relieve pain and restore mobility enough to engage in an active lifestyle.
Q. Will I need surgery?
A. This depends on the severity and location of your bulging disc, as well as your response to conservative treatments. Surgery can become a serious consideration if weeks or months of the above methods do not relieve symptoms. Traditional open neck or back surgery is usually seen as a last-resort treatment due to the highly invasive nature of these types of procedure. To learn more about the minimally invasive spine surgery performed at USA Spine Care, reach out to us today.
We offer a no-cost MRI review* to help you find out if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures.