A bulging disc occurs when the nucleus pulposus – the soft, spongy center of the disk pushes outward and creates pressure on the outer surrounding fibrous ligament (annulus fibrosis). Different from a herniation; the bulging disc still contains the nucleus material.
Bulging may occur as result of a flexion extension (whiplash) or traumatic injury, or as the body ages and the intervertebral discs degenerate. A bulging disc is not necessarily a serious concern, however may present as a source of back pain and/or leg pain.
Common bulging disc symptoms
include numbness and tingling, as well as pain that radiates through the arms or legs. A bulging disc in the neck will cause symptoms in the shoulder, arm, and hand. Conservative treatment for bulging discs includes rest, anti-inflammatory medications, ice, heat, and therapy. Bulging discs can be a progressive injury and may not respond to conservative care. There are several non-surgical and surgical options that may be discussed with one of our pain management or spine specialists to address ongoing symptoms from this condition.