This is Part 3 in our series about Bulging Discs! If you missed Part 2, click here!
So far in this series we have covered what a Bulging Disc is, and what the most common causes of them are. As a brief reminder of what we covered:
- A Bulging Disc occurs when the outside of the disc, called the annulus, pushes (or bulges) out from between the vertebrae.
- This bulging can happen because of two reasons; either the jelly-like substance inside the disc called the nucleus dries out (becomes dehydrated) which leads to the disc becoming unstable and basically going flat like a tire, or because the annulus on the outside weakens and the pressure of the nucleus pushing against that weakness causes it to bulge out.
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Next we will discuss the most common symptoms of Bulging Discs. Most of these symptoms are caused when the bulging of the disc comes into contact with the nerves that are exiting the spine next to the disc. This pinching of the nerve will usually cause pain in the area of the back, and can also cause pain at any point along that nerve where it travels throughout the body.
The symptoms of a Bulging Disc can also vary depending on what part of the spine the damaged disc is located. Some symptoms, such as pain, discomfort, and soreness in the area of the bulging disc, are nearly universal no matter what point of the spine the disc is located. Other symptoms are unique to the area of the spine they occur in. The three main areas of the spine where a Bulging Disc can occur are:
- Cervical Spine - This refers to the vertebrae and discs in the neck. A cervical bulging disc can cause pain and inflammation that often spreads to different areas of the upper body, including the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands. Many people with a bulging disc in this area will feel stiffness in the neck, headaches, numbness or a tingling in the extremities, or pain that radiates from the neck and possibly all the way to the fingers.
- Thoracic Spine - This is the longest part of the spine, and runs from the top of the chest to about the stomach. A Bulging Disc in this area can not only cause pain in that area of the back, but also pain that spreads to the front of the chest. It can sometimes make it feel like the pain is coming from the heart, kidneys, or stomach.
- Lumbar Spine - This refers to the largest vertebrae and discs at the bottom of the spine, in the lower back. When people suffer from a Bulging Disc in this area, it can not only cause low back pain and stiffness, but it can often lead to Sciatica. Sciatica is pain that travels or radiates down the leg, and a Bulging Disc can cause sciatica pain anywhere from the back all the way down to the big toe. It can also cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg, along with muscle spasms.
Pain from a Bulging Disc usually worsens the more active a person is, and lessens when the person is resting. There are several factors that can intensify Bulging Disc pain, including:
- Bending forward to pick something up
- Coughing or sneezing
- Lifting something heavy, especially if there is a twisting motion involved
- Performing a task where the person is bending over slightly with the arms in front of them for an extended period of time, such as driving or washing dishes
- Poor posture
- Sitting awkwardly and leaning forward for an extended period
Remember, this was just Part Three in the series. Part Four will continue our discussion about Bulging Discs!
The key to our treatment is solving the underlying cause. If you have a Bulging Disc and are suffering, we can help you. Call today to schedule a Free Consultation at 855-536-8301, or click on this link to schedule online:
Or, if you would like to learn more about your back pain, we regularly hold Free Educational Seminars at each of our clinics! To reserve a seat for one of our upcoming Free Seminars, click here:
Also, for those suffering with Bulging Discs, our Free Series of Top 10 Tips for Back Pain Relief can help. To sign up for them, click here:
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