Bulging Disc
Treatment Specialists in NJ & FL

A bulging disc occurs when the tough exterior portion of one of your spinal disc extends beyond its normal position between two vertebrae. Although there are small differences between the conditions, a bulging disc is often associated with herniated discs and slipped discs.

Suffering from a bulging disc? Try our pain assessment questionnaire to find a treatment:

How Do I Know If I Have a Bulging Disc?

A bulging disc is like a deflated car tire. It’s still there – it has not ruptured or herniated – but it has lost its tough outer structure and is no longer supporting the car. When the tough, outer portion of your disc becomes worn down or injured, it can decompress and bulge out beyond the circumference of your vertebrae. It can overtake all around the disc or be limited to portions of the perimeter. If the bulge comes in contact or places pressure on a nerve, you can experience the symptoms of a bulging disc, mainly pain and numbing. 

What Causes a Bulging Disc?

Aging and normal wear-and-tear are often cited as the most common causes of bulging discs, however, other instigators are: 

  • Inactive or sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor posture
  • Trauma or injury
  • Obesity

Common Bulging Disc Symptoms

While not all bulging discs display symptoms, numbing, tingling, and pain are common indicators and occur based on the location of the disc. A bulging disc in the neck or cervical area of the spine can cause pain to manifest in the arms, shoulders, and hands. Pain in the legs and feet indicate a bulging disc in the lower back or lumbar region of the spine. A bulging disc in the lumbar region may also manifest as muscle spasm due to how much body weight this area is required to support. If the pain is centered around your chest and abdomen, you may have a bulging disc in the middle or thoracic region of your back.

If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of a bulging disc, use our interactive condition check tool to start your diagnosis.

How are Bulging Discs Treated?

Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Bulging Discs

To treat a bulging disc, it is typically recommended to begin with conservative, non-surgical treatment options. These treatments seek to help the disc repair itself and return to the proper shape, subsequently eliminating any pressure on nearby nerves. Non-surgical treatment for bulging discs include: 

  • Activity modification
  • Rest
  • Over-the-counter or prescription painkillers
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Cortisone injections 
  • Hot or cold therapy 
  • Stretching exercises 
  • Physical therapy 

Surgical Treatments for Bulging Discs

If conservative treatments options for bulging discs do not remedy the situation, or if the bulge was deemed beyond the help of non-surgical options, you can look to surgical treatments for the next step. Common surgeries for bulging discs are:

  • Percutaneous Discectomy
  • Axial Fusion
  • Endoscopic Foraminotomy
  • Cervical Disc Replacement
  • Microdiscectomy
  • Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)
  • Artificial Disc Replacement

As with any spinal condition, it’s important not to wait for a bulging disc to turn into something worse. Whether non-surgical or surgical treatment, the path to a pain-free life waiting is for you. Find the right treatment for you with our interactive treatment finder.

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