Bulging Disc Symptoms

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bulging Disc?

Bulging disc for many people are not symptomatic or if there are minor symptoms, people learn to live and adjust their lifestyle to cope with them. When bulging disc becomes severe and the symptoms become unbearable, the quality of life for those suffering becomes debilitating. The condition can cause significant loss of days at work, interfere with daily activities, sports and general leisure.

Bulging Disc Symptoms By Region Of The Spine

As a disc bulges, it can push out against the spinal cord or one of the spinal nerve roots of the spine that extend from your spinal cord out causing symptoms, depending on the region of the bulging disc, into your shoulders, arms, hands or hips, low back, legs and feet.

The most common areas for bulging disc symptoms occur in the cervical and lumbar region. A thoracic bulging disc is not as common because the rib cage helps in spinal mobility. Symptoms of a bulging disc include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Burning
  • A tingling sensation

Being able to describe these symptoms to your doctor is very helpful in diagnosing your problem.

Cervical (Neck/Arms/Hands)) Symptoms

A bulging disc or pinched nerve in the neck or cervical spine can produce an array of symptoms in your neck, shoulders, arms, and into your hands and fingers. Depending on where the bulging disc is, the symptoms can affect one side or both sides of your neck, arms and hands. Certain movements of your neck and arms such as rotating your neck or bending your neck backward, forward or sideways can send sharp pain or tingling sensation down one or both arms into the fingers. Some people with bulging nerves can experience spasms and tightness in the neck and shoulders with activity.

Lumbar (Low Back/Legs) Symptoms

A bulging disc in the lower lumbar region typically compresses your spinal nerves. The spinal cord ends around the beginning of the lumbar region and becomes a bundle of nerves called the dura. Bulging disc compressing the exiting nerve can also affect the sciatic nerve, a nerve running from your hip down both sides of your legs.

Once a bulging disc compresses the spinal or exiting nerve, mild, moderate of severe pain, numbness, tingling or weakness symptoms can be felt into the buttocks, thigh, calves, feet or toes depending on what level the bulging disc is and where it is located. Sometimes symptoms can be bilateral affecting both legs but often just one side. Sciatica symptoms are typically one side of your body but can develop in some people who have severe spinal or foraminal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal).

Seeking Treatment for a Bulging Disc

If the pain in your back makes you suspect that you may be struggling with a bulging disc, it’s imperative that you visit the expert team at New Jersey’s Spine Institute of North America. We have the skills to assess your condition and determine if you have a bulging disc. When you’re struggling with back pain, it’s comforting to know that our doctors specialize in pain management and can not only diagnose a bulging disc but also offer a comprehensive treatment plan suited to the individual needs of any patient.

In our effort to promote conservative treatment options, we offer both non-operative pain management plans to help patients with bulging discs as well as least invasive surgical procedures.

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