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Bulging discs are often called disc protrusions, disc extrusions, annular tears, prolapsed discs and ruptured discs.  A disc bulges when a tear forms in the outer portion of the disc, allowing the softer disc center to move outward.  This can occur anywhere in the spine and is the most common cause of low back pain/sciatic pain.  Occasionally, herniated discs visible on an MRI produce no pain or symptoms.  Bulging may result from aging or wear and tear, and is also called degenerative disc disease.  Sudden forces applied to the spine in a motor vehicle accident can be great enough to start the process of bulging with a tear to annular fibers. Poor lifting techniques, prolonged sitting, being overweight, smoking and sedentary lifestyle may contribute to the development of a bulging disc.

Bulging Disc Symptoms

  • Pain/numbness in the buttocks and/or leg

  • Pain/numbness in the shoulder and/or arm

  • Pain/numbness in the shoulder blades and/or chest

  • Pain when sneezing, coughing and/or laughing

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control (requires immediate medical care)

Bulging Disc Treatment

  • Physical therapy

  • Medication

  • Minimally Invasive Injections

  • Minimally Invasive Surgery

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