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What Is A Bulging Disc?

NOTE: A bulging disc is also frequently referred to by doctors as a herniated disc, a slipped disc or even a pinched nerve. They are all slightly different and you can read about those exact differences by clicking here.

Spine Diagram Two Views

First things first - Your spine is a series of bones (vertebrae) that run in a row from your head down to your pelvis and is catagorized into three different sections. Between each one of these vertebrae bone structures are things called discs.

Since the spine is hard bone, and these discs are flexible, the discs can be thought of as kind of spinal shock absorbers since they absorb the load of the body. They also allow for movements such as flexion, extension, and rotation at the waist as they act as a pivot point for the trunk to twist upon. Discs are also covered in a fiber that will feel pain and try and resist the pain.

A bulging disc is a disc in the spine that has moved outside of where it normally should be. For one reason or another, a weak spot occurs and the disc pops out beyond its normal perimeter. It can be called many different terms by your doctor, but each technically have different meanings. You can see the differences here.

bulging disc mri
Interestingly, many people might have a bulging disc and not even know it, as long as the bulging area does not press upon surrounding tissues. Most likely however, when a person has a bulging disc, it will most likely cause pain to the nerves in either your back or neck.

Pain from a bulging disc pressing or pushing a nerve can then transfer up or down the nerve to the person’s legs, arms, feet, hands, fingers, or head depending on the location of the bulging disc in relation to the spine.

Bulging discs usually occur in the lower back but rarely in the upper back. In fact, statistics show 90% of bulging disc occurs in the lower back or lumbar area of the spine.




Widely Used Disc Terms.

Lumbar Disc Problems

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