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Are there any early signs of a possible disc protrusion?

A disc protrusion, or bulging disc, is a degenerative spine condition that can sometimes be painful. Due to the effects of ongoing wear and tear, the spinal discs can become susceptible to damage over time. A weakened disc can bulge past its normal boundaries and invade the spinal canal, where its presence can be problematic due to the limited space available for the spinal cord and nerve roots.

What does a disc protrusion feel like?

In many cases, there are no early signs of a disc protrusion. That’s because the condition usually does not become noticeable until it affects nearby spinal nerves. A bulging disc that places excess pressure on the spinal cord or a spinal nerve root can produce a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Stiffness or soreness in the neck or back
  • Muscle weakness
  • Acute or chronic pain that radiates along the pathway of a compressed nerve into an arm or leg
  • Numbness or pins-and-needles sensations
  • Tingling or burning sensations
  • Sharp, sudden pangs
  • Discomfort during daily activities, such as bending, sitting down and standing up

The signs of a disc protrusion can vary widely depending on the location and extent of the damage. Because other conditions can produce similar symptoms, it is important to see a physician for a proper diagnosis. A physician can pinpoint the cause and recommend appropriate treatment, if necessary. Oftentimes, conservative treatments such as physical therapy and over-the-counter pain relievers can significantly improve the discomfort caused by a protruded disc.

Disc protrusion surgery

Some patients ultimately elect surgery to address severe or persistent disc protrusion symptoms. As compared to traditional open spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery at USA Spine Care is a clinically appropriate alternative.^

At USA Spine Care, our surgeons perform minimally invasive spine surgery on an outpatient basis, allowing most of our patients to be up and walking within a few hours after surgery.^ Contact us today to learn more. We can provide you with a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.

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