Bulged or Herniated Disc Symptoms
Patients suffering from back pain, leg pain, and other symptoms may have a bulging or herniated disc. Life Health Medical will determine the cause of a patient’s pain by reviewing your medical history, performing a complete physical examination, and using diagnostic testing to identify the source of your pain. We don’t just try to mask the symptoms and pain, instead we find the true cause and fix it so they can continue living their lives to the fullest.
Understanding Bulging/Herniated Discs
When we are working with the spine, there are normally two areas we have to focus on, a pinched nerve or a bulging disc. A pinched nerve occurs when a herniated disc is leaking material outside the disc, which will irritate or compress a nearby nerve. Radicular pain is the most common issue related to spinal disc problems and is a type of pain that spreads into the rest of the patients back or down their legs. Sciatica pain is also common and includes the irritation or inflammation of one of these longest nerves in the body. Back pain and disc issues can radiate down into these nerves in the back of the legs.
Disc pain is different from nerve pain because it will lead to pain in the low back or leg as the disc space itself is painful. The discs act as a cushion between the vertebrae in the spine. The discs have an outer layer of cartilage that surrounds the softer cartilage. When a bulging disc occurs, the inner portion will push outside the space. Think of a bulging disc similar to a hamburger that is too large for the bun. When the disc is too big to fit into the vertebrae, it will cause the entire spine to have problems in the way it functions. It’s comparable to a puzzle and how every piece must fit together nicely for the final product. The spine is that way too, every piece must fit together to function the best. While some medical experts feel bulging discs are a “normal” part of the aging process, we find there are methods to effectively treat bulging discs, allowing patients to live a pain-free lifestyle.
A herniated disc is different as it will have a crack in the outer layer of cartilage, allowing the inner cartilage to protrude from the disc. Some people will refer to a herniated disc as a ruptured or bulging disc.
Potential Symptoms and Causes of Bulging/ Herniated Discs
Bulging discs can be a result from a variety of different things such as injury, aging, heavy lifting, or incorrectly twisting the spine. The symptoms of a herniated disc are similar to that of a slipped disc. The patient may experience tingling or numbness, as well as weakness. Pain is often associated but not always. These symptoms will effect different parts and limbs depending on which disc is herniated and the severity of the injury. Herniated discs are more likely to cause pain compared to a bulging disc, but the important thing to remember is there are treatments to help ease the pain. These treatments can rang anywhere from resting and using cold and hot compresses to the area to needing surgery if the condition is very severe. Most herniated discs can be treated with taking it easy for a few weeks and having the patient ensure they do not work their back too hard. Anti-inflammatory medications or steroids are sometimes needed as well if the pain is moderate to severe.
For more information about herniated disc treatment, contact us today.