A bulging disc is a condition related to the spine, occurring when a disc bulges through a crevice in the spine, usually the lower back. It happens when the disc shifts out of its normal position. The most frequent cause is simply a result of aging. A bulging disc is different than a herniated disc because it happens over time, versus a sudden trauma or injury. In most patients who have a bulging disc, there is no pain unless the disc becomes herniated or protrudes into a nerve. Occasionally, a bulging disc is diagnosed as a secondary condition to another problem. Because a bulging disc does not always cause pain, it may only be found during a routine or diagnostic imaging test such as MRI. Generally, a bulging disc is not a problem unless the patient is in pain, because it is herniated or ruptures.
This condition can be caused by:
- Sudden trauma or injury to a disc
- Predisposition to the disorder
Bulging disc symptoms depend on the location. Some patients may experience symptoms of pain and discomfort in the legs and feet, others in the arms and in other regions of the body. The diagnosis of a bulging disc is usually made after a complete medical history has been taken and MRIs, CT scans and/or X-rays have confirmed the presence of the condition.
Like a herniated disc, the team of back and spine experts uses minimally invasive surgical techniques with a simple laser to repair the bulging disc. Because this minimally invasive approach does not require cutting of muscle, surrounding tissue is spared additional trauma and recovery is generally less painful and faster than traditional surgery for bulging disc.