Bulging Disc Symptoms
A bulging disc, also referred to as herniated disc or spinal disc herniations, is a known condition that affects the spine where tear occur in the outer fibrous ring of the intervertebral disc. This condition causes the soft portion of the disc to become herniated or to bulge out. This kind of tear may result to inflammation and severe pain even if the nerve roots are not compressed. Bulging disc is the development of an existing disc protrusion. Some of bulging disc symptoms that you should know about includes the following:
- Bulging disc symptoms may vary on the location and type of soft tissue affected by the condition.
- Some cases of bulging disc can be asymptomatic and does not come with any form of pain at all. This happens when the only injured tissue is the disc and if the extrusion of the nucleus material is not pressing against any nerves or soft tissues. No symptoms can also be noticed in case the prolapse is very small and occurs away from the nerves.
- In case of cervical bulging disc, the primary symptom is neck pain. Neck pain can be severe and sudden neck movements can aggravate this. Individuals suffering from cervical bulging disc may also experience numbness and tingling sensations in the upper extremities. In severe cases of cervical bulging disc, one of the symptoms is pinched nerve where the sufferer may experience sharp burning pain that comes in varying degrees in the hands and arms.
- Individuals suffering from such condition may also experience bulging disc symptoms like sciatica or shooting lower back pain. This symptom may occur in case the bulging disc is at the lumbar region. Sufferer may experience unrelenting lower back pain that may radiate to other body parts depending on the affected nerve roots. Sensory changes can also be experienced like paresthesia and numbness. Aside from that, the reflex response of an individual suffering from bulging disc can also be affected and the symptoms are noticeable on half of the body. There are patients who also complain of lower back pain due to other reasons aside from nerve compression.
- Although cauda equine syndrome is a rare condition, this requires immediate medical attention. This condition is often seen in nerve root problems due to bulging disc. This rare disorder involves the nerves located at the end of the body’s spinal cord. These nerves may be compressed, thus resulting to lower back pain and loss of bladder and bowel functioning. This condition may also result to various digestive problems and oliguria or anuria or the inability to pass urine. Sufferers may also experience numbness and weakness of the saddle area and the legs. This condition requires immediate medical treatment in order to prevent causing any permanent damage to the bowel and bladder nerves.
The above given bulging disc symptoms are triggered by spinal nerve irritations. For this, the first line of treatment usually depends on where the bulging disc occurred and the treatment procedures may involve various methods including exercises that will provide relief. There are other types of therapies and massages available for this condition as well. As for the pain, sufferers can consume NSAID medications to alleviate pain and inflammation. Surgery is the last option for this condition, especially if the treatment options administered does not seem to be of any help at all.
Treatment Options for Bulging Disc Conditions
- Rest: this is one of the most important methods that should be considered. Patients should refrain from doing activities that may add pressure to the lower back. Lifting of heavy objects should be avoided as well as any strenuous physical activities.
- Medications: in case the condition affects the spinal nerves, severe pain can be experienced. For this, painkillers are recommended to reduce the pain. However, if oral painkillers are ineffective, anti-inflammatory steroid injections are used. Administration of intravenous steroid injections are recommended to reduce inflammation and to treat pinched or irritated nerves. Application of heat pads or ice packs can also be helpful against inflammation.
- Physical Therapy: rest should be followed by gradual and slow mobility. For this, physical therapies are recommended to treat bulging disc. Specific exercises and stretches are helpful in strengthening the back. Patients may consult a chiropractor or a massage therapist for the right treatment.
- Surgery: as mentioned, in case any of the abovementioned treatments cannot alleviate bulging disc symptoms, surgical procedures might be necessary. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and it involves the elimination of the material that impinges the nerve roots. Laminectomy, laminotomy, disc-dissolving procedures or percutaneous disectomy are some of the most commonly used treatment procedures for this condition.
When suffering from bulging disc conditions, make sure that you consult your physician immediately. This is to determine the preventive measures to avoid aggravating the condition and to get immediate treatment as well.