Bulging Disc

Discs act as cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. They're composed of an outer layer of tough cartilage that surrounds softer cartilage in the center. It may help to think of them as miniature jelly doughnuts, exactly the right size to fit between your vertebrae.

A bulging disc extends outside the space it should normally occupy. The bulge typically affects a large portion of the disc. The part of the disk that's bulging is typically the tough outer layer of cartilage. Bulging can come from the normal aging process of the disc but can also be caused by trauma (accident, improper lifting).  A bulging disc in the neck or back should not be confused with a herniated disc.  Although the herniated disc may mimic some of the symptoms of a bulging disc, a vertebral disc is considered herniated only once the inner material of the disc actually breaks though its outer layer. Bulging discs can occur anywhere in the spine.  The most common areas are the lower lumbar spine and lower cervical spine.
Bulging Disc Symptoms:
  • Leg and/or foot pain (sciatica), which may occur with or without lower back pain.
  • Numbness, weakness and/or tingling in the leg and/or foot 
  • Numbness, weakness and/or tingling in the arm and/or hand
  • Lower back pain with or without pain into the lower extremity
  • Neck pain with or without pain into the upper extremity

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