The spine features a complex network of small bones, nerves, and cushioning discs. These discs are composed of a soft, gel-like-core and a tough, fibrous outer shell. Sometimes, factors like repeated strain, arthritis, or sudden trauma can cause one or more of these discs to bulge out in one direction, potentially pinching against a nearby nerve root and causing painful symptoms.
Do I have a bulging disc?
Only a medical professional can determine if you have a bulging disc and need treatment. To diagnose this condition, a physical exam may be performed along with a CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to view the components of the spine.
As a general rule of thumb, be sure to promptly consult with a medical professional if you have any neck or back pain that concerns you, especially if your pain radiates up and down an arm or leg or if it is accompanied by numbness or tingling sensations.
What does bulging disc treatment involve?
A bulging disc doesn’t always require treatment. In fact, many people aren’t aware that they have bulging discs. However, if your bulging disc produces symptoms, treatment options may include:
- Activity modification to reduce strain on the spine
- Gentle stretching and low-impact exercises
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory injection
- Medication to reduce pain and inflammation
- Surgery, in severe cases
Without treatment, a bulging disc may progress to break through its shell (disc herniation) and cause additional symptoms.
Are you experiencing disruptive neck or back pain? If so, turn to the board-certified and award-winning orthopedic surgeons at Orthopaedic Specialists. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our centers in the Greater Pittsburgh Region.