Bulging, Torn or Ruptured Discs
Discs are part of the structure of the spine and act as "shock absorbers," providing a cushioning effect between the vertebrae. The soft core of disc (nucleuis palposus) is encased in a stronger, rubbery exterior (annulus).
What is the Difference Between a Herniated Disc and a Bulging Disc?A bulging disc is like letting air out of a car tire. The disc sags and appears like it is bulging outward. Herniated discs occur when some of the soft core escapes or pushes out through a tear in the annulus.
Herniated, Torn or Ruptured DiscsA herniated disc can occur anywhere in the spine, but most commonly occur in the lower back—the next most common area being the neck. Compared with a bulging disc, a herniated disc is more likely to irritate the nerve root causing pain as it protrudes and compresses the nerve or causes inflammation.
- Signs and Symptoms of Herniated Lower Back Signs and symptoms depend on the location of the affected disc and whether the disc is pressing on a nerve. Herniated discs can affect one or both sides of the body.
Symptoms resulting from a herniated disc in the lower back may include:
- Lower back pain
- Pain in your buttocks, thigh and calf Pain in foot
- Symptoms resulting from a herniated disc in the neck may include:
- Pain in your shoulder and arm
- Shooting pains in arms and or legs
- numbness or tingling
- Muscle weakness
Bulging DiscsA bulging disc occurs when the annula looses strength and the disc flattens and expands, compressing the spine as it bulges out. Most bulging discs occur in the lower lumbar spine. Bulging discs usually affect multiple levels. This condition is usually age related, developing over time and can cause other disc degeneration-related issues, like lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of spinal canal). Bulging discs also commonly herniate as well.
Age-related wear and tear on the spine is the most common cause of a bulging disc. A traumatic accident like a lifting injury, a car crash or sports accident can also damage spinal discs.
- Symptoms of a Bulging Disc
Symptoms depend on its severity and location in the spine but may include:.
- Back pain that worsens with movement, such as when sneezing
- Spasms in the back muscles
- Weakness and numbness in the legs and feet
- Reduced mobility in the legs, knees, and ankles
- Decreased bladder and bowel control
- Difficulty walking
- Reduced coordination
Treatment options:Treatment for herniated and bulging discs depends on severity. For many cases anti-inflammatory medications and rest bring good pain relief results.
For people with severe pain, Epidural Steriod Injections may be a suitable short-term solution. If conservative measures fail to provide adequate, lasting pain reduction, advanced treatment options such as endoscopic discectomy, spinal cord stimulation and the Minuteman procedure may be excellent options to consider.
Precision Pain Care uses strategies, methods and technology designed to break the cycle of pain and improve a patient’s quality of life.
- Celiac Plexus Block
- Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) stimulation
- Endoscopic Discectomy
- Endoscopic Rhizotomy
- Epidural Steroid Injections
- Facet Injections and Medial Branch Blocks
- Joint Injections
- MILD Lumbar Decompression
- Minuteman Spinal Fusion Procedure
- Radiofrequency Ablation
- Spinal Cord Stimulation
- Sympathetic Blocks
Movie presentations showing non-invasive pain reducing procedures used by Dr. Linehan to treat various painful conditions.