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Your spinal discs are made up of several layers, which includes an outer layer (the fibrous ring) and a jelly-like internal core (the central pulp).
If one of your discs is damaged, the soft inside layer can break open and start to bulge out of the outer layer of the disc. This is what is referred to as a bulging or herniated disc, and are common in the lower vertebrae.
If you think you’re experiencing pain or other symptoms as a result of bulging discs, make an appointment with us at Alexander Bone and Spine Institute to determine the best way to treat your condition.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A BULGING DISC?
When the soft, gel-like center of your vertebral disc starts to push outward against the disc’s harder outer layer, this can result in a bulging disc.
Such a condition can cause significant pain, and if some of the disc’s fluid leaks out, your symptoms can become more intense and cause numbness or sharp pain in the extremities.
Bulging discs are caused by a number of different factors, including injury or trauma. When we experience a fall or trauma, this can impact the spine and cause vertebral compression, which can apply pressure to your spinal discs and form a herniated, or bulging, disc.
In many cases, the natural effects of aging can cause herniated discs. When we get older, we lose some of the fluid in the spinal discs — this gives the discs less “bounce,” and leads to weakening of the discs.
Any condition which adds pressure to the spine can cause a herniated disc to form, including obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and repetitive motion.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT TREATMENT FOR ME?
Most of our patients at Alexander Bone and Spine Institute have seen success with more conservative treatments, including:
- Stretching exercises
- Physical therapy
- Pain medication (over-the-counter or prescription)
- Muscle relaxants
- Cortisone injections
- Hot and cold therapy for swelling
It is not often that Dr. Alexander recommends surgery to relieve symptoms for bulging discs. When surgery is recommended, it may involve the removal of a disc or spinal fusion surgery, to prevent further friction and decompression of the spine.
If you’d like to discuss possible treatments and the best course of action to relieve your pain, make an appointment with us at Alexander Bone and Spine Institute – we look forward to helping you!