The bulging disc tends to be one of the most common causes of back pain. There are several different stages of breakdown within the discs of the spine and the bulging disc is normally the first phase. There are many reasons and multiple causes for a bulging disc, and like any type of pain the better you understand what is causing your pain the easier it is to treat, or at least easier to pick what treatment makes the most sense for your condition.
The spine is made of bones, nerves, discs and muscles. There are 24 vertebrae (bones) between your head and hips and a disc separates each vertebra. The disc is part cushion that allows for 360 degrees of motion, and part shock absorber.
Where the discs separate the vertebrae they also allow for nerves to exit out of the spine adjacent to the disc. This is important because when subtle changes occur within the disc it will very often result in a pinched nerve, and this can result in severe pain.
As you can tell, the spine is a very complicated area of the body, so it is easy to see how when something goes wrong it can cause severe pain. One of the things that can happen involves when these discs become damaged in any way or begin to break down. They can often become what is called bulging. But what does that mean exactly?
We mentioned earlier how one of the main functions of the discs in the spine is to act as cushions. In fact, they are basically little rubber shock absorbers that cushion and lessen the impact on the vertebrae in your spine when you are performing normal activities such as walking, running, or jumping.
Imagine that the disc is like a jelly donut. The outside is a thick protective barrier called the annulus, and on the inside is a substance that is a lot like jelly that we call the nucleus. It is this substance inside the disc that provides the cushioning for your spine. When the disc begins to break down or deteriorate, the annulus on the outside can begin to push out between the vertebrae. Or in other words, it bulges out. This is what is called a Bulging Disc!
At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate everyone as much as possible about their back pain and sciatica, because it is proven that the more people know about their problem the more likely they are to eliminate it!
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