Did you know that the vertebrae that make up your spine are all separated by special shock-absorbing discs? They are what allow your back to withstand the pressure created by everyday activities like walking, sitting, and lifting. However, if the pressure becomes too great in these discs, the liquid inside will be pushed to the outer layer, causing a bulging disc – which in the long term can be a very painful and serious issue. Get in touch with Dr. Rozenberg today if you’re suffering from back pain; if the issue is related to your spinal discs, she can help you find a minimally invasive solution for relief.
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What Causes a Bulging Disc?
When the tough outer portion of a spinal disc is injured (or even simply worn out due to years of use), it decompresses, causing it to bulge out from between the vertebrae. Common causes include aging, poor posture, a generally inactive lifestyle, microtraumas or injuries that have built up over time, placing a sudden load on the discs, obesity, and genetic factors. At some point, the bulge may grow to the point where the disc becomes herniated.
What are the Symptoms of a Bulging Disc?
Bulging discs may not produce noticeable symptoms at first. As they grow bigger, however, they can start to compress down on or irritate surrounding nerves, resulting in pain as well as a numb or tingling sensation that can extend down your arm or leg. Other common symptoms include back pain, spasms, and leg cramps. These symptoms are likely to grow worse once the bulging disc becomes herniated, and in the worst-case scenario you might even experience leg weakness or foot drop (meaning the foot flops whenever you try to walk).
How Can a Bulging Disc Be Treated?
We’ll always recommend conservative, non-surgical treatment options first when it comes to treating a bulging disc. Spinal decompression is often a good choice; it involves adjusting the position of the spine so that less pressure is placed on the discs, causing them to retract to where they belong. Additionally, you can treat your symptoms at home with stretching exercises and the appropriate application of heat and cold. Dr. Rozenberg can help you explore other options for treatment during your visit.