A bulging disc usually affects the lower back, otherwise known as the lumbar area. It can also affect the upper back area. A bulging disc occurs when part of the disc slips out of place from the vertebrae.
Having a bulging disc may or may not cause an individual any pain or discomfort. If it happens in the lower back, pain might be felt through the hips and down the legs. If the upper back is affected, pain will be felt in the neck and arms.
Because some individuals don’t experience pain with a bulging disc, it may go for years without being diagnosed. Most often than not, it is found as a secondary diagnosis when a physician orders an MRI for another issue.
A bulging disc only needs treatment when it is causing pain to a patient because it has ruptured, is pushing against a nerve or becomes herniated.
Causes Prevention and Treatments
A bulging disc usually occurs over time or with age as opposed to a herniated disc that happens instantly because of an injury.
Prevention is one of the most important things a person can do to avoid ever experiencing a bulging disc.
- Lifting – Always lift heavy objects with the legs and not the back
- Posture – Use good, straight posture at all times
- Weight – Maintain an optimal body weight to not put excess strain on the back
- Exercise – Regular exercise is key to keeping the muscles around the spine strong
After a diagnosis, doctors will usually recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- A combination of cold and hot therapy using an ice pack and heating pad
- Plenty of rest
- Restricted activities to keep pressure and strain off of the spine
- Medications like pain relievers and anti-inflammatories
- Physical therapy
- Cortisone shots
- Chiropractic therapy
- Spinal decompression