Bulging Discs: Overview and Symptoms

Overview and Symptoms of Bulging Discs

A bulging disc occurs when a disc between the spinal vertebrae starts to extend out of its normal space. Many people have bulging discs, but experience no symptoms. Others deal with pain and other types of discomfort that motivate them to seek treatment.

What Causes Bulging Discs?

As people age, the spinal discs gradually dry out. Minor injuries can stretch the tough outer membrane of the disc, called the annulus fibrosis, which causes the interior disc material to bulge out. If the membrane tears, the interior material could leak out. Generally, patients with bulging disc symptoms are between the ages of 30 and 50.

Aging creates an environment for bulging discs, but additional factors can make them more likely to occur. These may include improper lifting, severe trauma, and playing contact sports. People that do a lot of repetitive twisting and bending on the job may also place stress on spinal discs. Family history, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption also play a role.

What Are the Symptoms?

In many cases, people have bulging discs, but display no symptoms at all. In fact, they have no idea they even have bulging discs. Other patients do experience symptoms, dependent on which section of the spinal column contains the bulging spinal disc:

  • Lumbar region. About 90 percent of all bulging discs occur in the lumbar spine, or lower back. Pain may radiate into the buttocks, lower legs, and feet. Patients may also develop sciatica, which causes sharp shooting pains to travel down one side of the lower body.
  • Thoracic region. The thoracic region of the spine extends from the shoulders to the mid-back. Bulging thoracic discs may cause pain in the chest, and pain can descend as far down as the upper thigh.
  • Cervical region. Discs bulging in the cervical spine, or neck vertebrae, may cause pain, numbness, and tingling that can travel down the arms and into the hands and fingers.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms described above, contact us at CuraSpineProcedure.com to talk about your treatment options today.