If you’re one of the 65 million Americans who have been suffering from back pain recently, you probably want to know what the source of your discomfort is. There are many reasons why your back might start to hurt, but one particularly common cause is a bulging disc in your spine. What exactly is a bulging disc, and how will you know if you have one? Here’s what you need to know.
What is a Bulging Disc?
Your spine contains a number of shock-absorbing discs that separate your vertebrae. If one of these discs is exposed to an excessive amount of pressure, the fluids it contains will be pushed to the outer layer. The result is a bulging disc that may press down on nearby nerves, causing considerable pain that tends to grow more severe over time. A bulging disc can occur anywhere in the spine, but they tend to happen in the lower back more often.
What are the Symptoms of a Bulging Disc?
Back and neck pain are some of the most common warning signs of a bulging disc, but there are other symptoms you can watch out for as well:
- Arm or Leg Pain: A bulging disc in your lower back can cause discomfort in your buttocks, thigh, calf, or even foot. Meanwhile, a bulging disc in the neck may lead to arm or shoulder pain.
- Numbness or Tingling: The constant pressure that a bulging disc puts on your nerves can result in a numb or tingling sensation in different parts of the body.
- Weakness: The muscles connected to the nerves affected by a bulging disc might start to feel weak. You might start stumbling more often, or you might have trouble lifting objects.
Sometimes a bulging disc won’t cause any symptoms, meaning you likely won’t even realize it’s there unless it’s identified on a spinal X-ray. But when you do start to notice the warning signs, it’s best to call a chiropractor as soon as you can to have the issue diagnosed.
How Can You Treat a Bulging Disc?
While a bulging disc can sometimes be treated with surgery, it’s recommended that you try other, less invasive options first. Many chiropractors will suggest spinal decompression, which involves gently stretching the spine to take some of the pressure off the spinal discs, which allows them to return to their original positions. You might also be told to perform some stretching exercises at home to help manage your symptoms.
A bulging disc can be extremely painful, but it’s an issue that you can manage. Get in touch with your chiropractor today if you think that you might have a bulging disc; the sooner your treatment begins, the sooner you can put your discomfort behind you.
About the Author
Dr. Brigitte Rozenberg is a Board-Certified Chiropractor in California, and she has been certified by the Disc Centers of America for non-surgical spinal decompression therapy. At Spinatomy Spine & Disc Centers in Culver City, she provides multiple noninvasive solutions for bulging discs and other conditions that cause back pain. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rozenberg, visit her website or call (310) 482-3252.