It’s important to understand that a bulging disc is different than a herniated disc. When a disc bulges, it protrudes from the vertebrae in the spine. A herniated disc is when a bulging disc ruptures, creating a crack in the tough exterior disc-layer called the annulus. A bulging disc simply extrudes outside of the space it normally fills and into the spinal canal. This can cause a number of issues with pain ranging between mild and severe. In some cases, the pain can be debilitating and nerve damage is possible.
The severity and diagnosis of your bulging disc will inform the treatment determined the best option for a healthy recovery. In some cases, you could have a bulging disc and feel no pain at all. In other cases, a bulging disc could be more painful than a herniated disc. Depending on the cause, symptoms, and overall health of the individual a treatment like physical therapy, chiropractic care, or invasive surgery is suggested. It’s important to pay attention to what you’re body is telling you in the form of discomfort or pain to take the next best step.
How Serious Is A Bulging Disc?
Disc degeneration due to aging is a common cause for a bulging disc. In most cases, a bulging disc isn’t a sign that anything is seriously wrong with your spine, but it is a signal that you should start taking proactive measures to remedy the issue. Nonetheless, a bulging disc becomes a serious problem if it affects the width of the spinal canal, filling it and putting pressure on nerves. This is when most people with a bulging disc begin to feel pain. In some cases, the narrowing of the spinal canal due to a disc bulging is called segmental spinal stenosis, a serious condition that can lead to debilitating pain and potential nerve damage.
Does A Bulging Disc Affect Your Health?
The short answer is yes. If you’re in any discomfort or pain, your life will be affected. A bulging disc is not an immediate cause for panic; however, it can protrude into the spinal canal and put pressure on or pinch a nerve. In most cases, this is when individuals feel pain. Furthermore, the protruding disc may not cause pain all the time. Depending on inflammation and lifestyle, the pain could come and go. Here are seven ways a bulging disc, whether in your thoracic spine or cervical spine, can affect your health:
- Muscle tingling, weakness, or numbness
- Increased reflex sensitivity in one or both legs, causing spasticity
- Infrequent changes in bowel or bladder function
- Paralysis from the waist down
- Pain in neck when moving
- Pain radiating in your fingers, forearms, or upper arms
As a bulging disc advances in severity, the discomfort and pain can follow. In most cases, the pain does increase as the bulging disc worsens; however, as mentioned above, pain may not be present in someone with a disc issue. When a bulging disc is treated properly with chiropractic care, physical therapy, decompression traction therapy, surgery, or otherwise, the individual can see recovery in as little as two weeks or as long as a few months.
Live Life Well With Senara
When it comes to back pain treatment, everyone’s body and pain is different. Back pain can be a symptom of the primary issue or a sign that there is a larger problem. Chiropractic care is a natural, non-invasive way to treat pain in the back. A chiropractor will be able to inform you of needed care or the physical therapy required for you to make a healthy recovery. Contact Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa in Peoria to learn more or schedule your chiropractic care.