What is bulging disc and the common symptoms?

November 12, 2012

What is bulging disc and the common symptoms?

Bulging disk is the name of the condition when one of the intervertebral discs somehow becomes damages and begins to push against the area in the back of the spine. Not all injured discs are the same and they can be put into one of four categories; bulging, prolapsed, extruded and sequestered. These are listed from least to most amount of damage. Different symptoms occur depending one type of damaged or herniated disc you are suffering from. In order to understand the symptoms we need to understand the damage. A bulging disc can occur as a result of the discs that make up the spine beginning to weaken. This will cause a small bulge on the outside of the disc and as it is so small rarely leads to any symptoms. In fact most people are not even aware of a bulging disc. The next stage is known as a prolapsed disc and in many ways is the same as a bulging disc only slightly bigger. Mild symptoms may start to appear at this stage. The third stage is an extruded disc and involved the disc breaking through the outer shell causing the gel like substance contained in the centre to begin to leak out into the spinal space. This can cause compression on the spinal-chord nerves and can create a great deal of pain, numbness and weakness. The final stage of a bulging disc is a sequestered disc. By this stage the gel centre is completely free and floating around in the spinal space. Sufferers often find that pain has significantly reduced by this stage, as the gel is no longer pushing on any nerves.

It is common for the cause of a bulging disc to be unclear, although there are a few factors that may increase the likelihood of one developing. Obesity for example can cause additional stress to the spine and a lack of exercise can result in weak back muscles. This increases the likelihood of a minor accident causing a bulging disc. Aging is another factor, as the spine will naturally begin to weaken with age.

The symptoms that develop depend largely on the exact location of your spine that the bulging disc occurs. If it is high on your spine, around the neck, then pain will be felt in the arms, neck, chest and hands if the injury is severe. If the injury is lower down the spine, then pain will be felt in the lower back and legs. It is hard to be specific when it comes to symptoms of a bulging disc as the pain can be varied and in many different areas of the body. If you feel any kind of prolonged discomfort in the back or surrounding areas, then it is always advisable to see a doctor in order to prevent it from getting any worse. This is the only way you will be able to seek a true diagnosis and begin the appropriate treatment.

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