Bulging Disc

Symptoms of a Bulging Disc

If you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc, then your symptoms will vary according to the region of your spine that is affected. For example, if your bulging disc compresses nerve tissue in your cervical spine, then you may experience symptoms such as arm weakness. However, if your bulging disc pinches nerves in your thoracic spine, then you may experience pain in a band that encircles your chest. And, if your protruding disc affects nerves that extend from your lumbar spine, then you may experience tingling in your legs and feet.

If these symptoms sound a little too familiar, then it’s time to contact a board-certified spine expert. The symptoms of a bulging disc can mimic other conditions of the spine. So, achieving an accurate diagnosis is key. For professional advice that you can trust, contact our fellowship-trained spine specialists at the Advanced Spine Center of NJ! Our board-certified physicians use the latest advancements in minimally invasive care to diagnose and treat your condition!

Causes & Consequences of a Bulging Disc

Many different factors can cause a herniated disc. However, three of the most common conditions that lead to bulging discs include spinal injuries, bone spurs, and degenerative disc disease.

Spinal Injuries: Spinal injuries can cause a lifetime’s worth of wear and tear on the spine to occur in an instant. High risks events for a bulging disc include falls, car accidents, sports injuries, and occupational mishaps.

Bone Spurs: Bone spurs are bony protrusions that form along the edges of joints as the body attempts to lessen the effects of osteoarthritis. Because bone spurs can grow into the disc space, they often cause bulging or prolapsed discs.

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD): DDD occurs over the course of many years, as our discs begin to dehydrate from the aging process. With less liquid left inside the disc, the exterior of the disc can harden and crack. These micro-tears can lead to bulging or collapsed discs.

In addition, a bulging disc can lead to many different complications of its own. However, spinal stenosis is one of the most common conditions that can arise. Spinal stenosis occurs when a bulging or herniated disc pinches the spinal cord. Unlike simple nerve compression, a pinched spinal cord can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis. If you begin to display symptoms such as numbness in the groin region or incontinence, then seek medical attention ASAP. If ignored, these symptoms can lead to irreversible nerve damage.

Bulging Disc Treatment Options

Pain Management

Sometimes, a bulging disc can heal on its own. To aid with pain during your recovery process, your doctor may prescribe medications, such as muscle relaxers, to soothe your discomfort.

Artificial Disc Replacement

During an artificial disc replacement, your surgeon will fully remove your bulging disc. Your doctor will then use an artificial model to replace the injured disc. Read more...

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist (PT) can help you preserve flexibility and strengthen key muscle groups in your back. To achieve pain relief, your PT may use many different techniques, including hot and cold therapy, electrotherapy, or massage.


During this procedure, your doctor will remove only a portion of your damaged disc. This technique involves extracting the tiny pieces of a ruptured disc to relieve pressure on your nerves.Read more...