Bulging Disc Causes and Treatments

A bulging disc occurs when one of the cushioning discs between the spinal vertebrae develops a weak spot and pushes outward beyond its normal perimeter. Depending on the position in the spine where it occurs, a bulging disc can cause problems ranging from discomfort to disability. Bulging disc symptoms usually occur when the disc impinges on one or more of the spinal column nerves. The symptoms depend on where in the spinal column the bulging disc is located, and how much pressure it puts on a nerve. Causes of bulging disc include trauma, disease and degeneration associated with aging. Bulging of the disc frequently occurs in the lumbar, or lower region of the spine. Symptoms of a lumbar bulging disc can include pain in the hips, buttocks, legs and feet. If the malpositioned disc impinges on a nerve root, the resulting shooting pain down the legs is called sciatica. Symptoms of a bulging disc in the upper back and neck can include pain from the neck – the cervical region – all the way through the arms, extending to the fingertips.

You can help avoid developing a bulging disc

There are some simple steps that can help avoid developing a bulging disc. These include protecting your back when lifting heavy objects, using good posture, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight. Nonetheless, the likelihood of developing a bulging disc increases with age as the discs weaken and lose elasticity. Treatments for bulging discs includes rest, using a heating pad, medications, and specific exercises for bulging discs that relieve pressure on spinal nerves.

Usually, these non-invasive forms of bulging disc therapy enable the disc to heal on its own. Surgery for a bulging disc is an option in severe cases. Today minimally invasive surgery such as endoscopic procedures and laser spinal surgery provides a simple and effective alternative to invasive surgery. The board-certified physicians at The New Jersey Spine Specialists treat patients from around the country as well as local patients from Florham Park, Nutley, Union, and throughout Morris and Middlesex Counties for bulging disc and other spinal problems. Minimally invasive spinal surgery is just one of the options that we offer in designing the best treatment for each patient. If you have questions about bulging disc or other spinal problems, call or email us to schedule a consultation.

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