A bulging disc is where the outer layers of the intervertebral disc (the annular fibers or annulus) are pushing or bulging outward beyond the border of the vertebrae that its sits between. This is usually a diffuse bulging; meaning that it is broad based and covers a large portion of the disc. In contrast, a herniated disc or disc protrusion is much more focal and involves tearing of the annular fibers. Symptoms associated with a bulging disc range from no pain at all, to severe pain locally.
Disc bulges are can be considered a normal part of aging; however bulging discs can occur from trauma as well. Axial loading of weight, for example performing dead lifts or squats in heavy weight lifting, can cause a disc bulge. Hyperflexion / hyperextension injuries suffered in auto accidents can also cause bulging discs.
MRI examination usually reveals normal water content but bulging discs can still be very painful. When large enough, a bulging disc can encroach upon sensitive nerve roots and or the spinal cord generating low back pain, leg pain or both.
Conservative treatment should include chiropractic care, physical therapy, medical care and short term pain management. For those cases that don’t respond, spinal decompression may your answer to relief from lower back pain, leg pain or both.
Call the office now at 407-522-5858 for your complete consultation and examination to see if you are a candidate for spinal decompression. Don’t forget to bring your MRI!