What the different types of bulging discs?
What causes a bulging disc?
What are the symptoms of a bulging disc?
How is a bulging disc treated?
When might surgery be needed?
What Is A Bulging Disc?
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.
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.
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In the United States, some 450 cases of herniated disk per every 100,000 require surgery.
The average age for surgery is 40-45 years old.
Men are twice as likely to need surgery as women.
More than 95% of disk operations are performed on the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae.