What exactly is a bulging disc, and what are the main symptoms that you will experience? Essentially, a bulging disc is a general term that is used in order to describe an intervertebral disc that has protruded to some degree from the spine. This is within the spinal column that has in some way become damaged and is now pushing against the spaces in the back of the spine.
Not all injured discs are the same, and they can actually be classified into four different types. The classification of the different types of injured discs is done in sequence from least damaged the most damaged, and they go from bulging, prolapsed, extruded, and sequestered.
In order to understand the difference between a herniated disc and a bulging disc that you will see with each of these different stages, we need to consider exactly what they mean. First of all, a bulging disc occurs when the discs within our spine begin to weaken, and as such a small bulge will appear towards the outside of the disc. Due to the fact that the bulge is very small, this type of herniated disc rarely causes any significant symptoms and most people do not even know that they have the problem. This is caused by any number of stressors and also by normal aging.
A prolapsed disc is a bulging disc that has progressed
A prolapsed disc is the next stage and it is actually very similar to a bulging disc. The only real difference here is that the bulge will be a little bit larger, but it will still be contained within the internal wall of the intervertebral disc. It is at this point that symptoms may begin to be noticeable and bulging disc treatment may be considered.
An extruded disc is a disc that becomes herniated
The third stage of a herniated or bulged disc will be an extruded disc. At this stage the disc will actually tear through the tough outer shell and at this point the soft gel like center will push into the spinal space. If a lot of this gel manages to escape, it can cause compression to the nerves in the spinal-cord and you may begin to feel significant pain, weakness, or numbness.
A sequestered disc is the final progressive stage of an injured disc
At the point a disc is considered sequestered, the gel center will have broken completely free of the disc and will be floating randomly within the spinal canal. Due to the fact that it is free, it is common to find that the symptoms actually begin to subside. Without the gel center pushing against the spine or pressing up against anything, pain at this point is likely reduced.
Causes of a bulging disc
So what exactly causes a bulging disc? Well, most of the time it can be very difficult to actually pinpoint the exact reason why any sort of herniated disc will occur due to the fact that its progression will be gradual, but there are a number of different risk factors that are associated with bulging discs.
One of these is obesity, and the heavier you are the more likely you will be putting stress on your spine. Therefore your chances of experiencing a bulging disc will increase. A sedentary lifestyle is also a contributing factor, and if you fail to get sufficient amounts of exercise this can lead to weaken back muscles. Consequently, under these circumstances there is a higher chance of becoming injured. In addition, a simple injury such as a blow to the back or some sort of car accident can easily cause a herniated disc as well.
Of course, general aging is also a contributing factor, As people begin to get older their spinal structure will begin to weaken and as such the chances of having a problem will increase significantly.
So what exactly are the bulging disk symptoms that you will experience when you develop this condition? The main symptoms that you will experience will depend on the part of the spine where the injury has occurred. If the injury has occurred within your neck then you would feel significant pain in your arms, chest, neck, and hands depending upon the severity of the injury.
If the injury had occurred in your lower back then pain would be felt in your lower back and legs. Ruptured disc symptoms can occur anywhere up and down your back or referred to and causing difficulty in limbs and other areas of the body.
Herniated disc symptoms are the pain issue most commonly sought after from physicians, book stores, libraries, and online. Likewise herniated disc treatment options run through a myriad of diagnoses, medical opinions, and medical disciplines.
If you are feeling any sort of extended discomfort in any area of your back then it is certainly advisable for you to immediately consult with your family doctor. They will be the only ones in a position to give you a proper diagnosis or referral so that you can move forward with an appropriate treatment to sort out the problem.