Disc bulge

Intervertebral disc bulge

A disc bulge is refers to a general extension of the whole circumference of a disc beyond the border in which it usually sits. This border is called the apophyseal ring. A bulging disc is just a squashed disc that radiations out in all directions around the disc. Technically more the 25% of its circumference needs to bulge out to be termed a disc bugle. Generally speaking most disc bulges only stick out less than 3mm. Disc herniation is not the same as disc bulge. The terms disc herniation and disc bulge are often used interchangeably and this leads to problems with with diagnosis and conveying the correct message to patients.

Symptoms of a disc bulge

There are generally no symptoms associated with a disc bulge. Most people will have these and the disc bulge is unlikely to cause neck or back pain. Neck and back pain associated with a disc bulge will only occur if the disc bulge crashes into a spinal nerve or the spinal cord. If a disc bulge compresses a spinal nerve, neck and back pain is likely and pain may radiate down the arms or legs depending on where the disc bulge is located. If the disc bulges compresses the spinal cord, a combination of neck and back pain can occur with various neurological symptoms such as weakness and skin sensation changes.

Treatment of a disc bulge

A disc bulge will typically require no treatment as most of us will get these throughout life and never know about it. They will typically not cause neck or back pain. However if a disc bulge does compress a nerve or have tears associated with it, then treatments will focus on reducing pain, inflammation and mechanically improving the spine and its function. Chiropractic and physiotherapist for neck and back pain caused by a disc bulge is extremely effective. At Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) we are a neck and back pain treatment centre of excellence located in Balmain and Rozelle, Sydney.

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