Our spine is made of several bones and joints known as vertebrae and facet joints respectively. In-between every vertebra there exists a gel-filled disc also known as the intervertebral disc acting as the shock absorber. They also help the spine to move and in case this disc is damaged, it can push back into the spinal canal pressing on the nerves. The disc usually bulges out on one side which is the reason why the symptoms can be felt on one side of the body. Relatively this condition is painless, other bulging disc symptoms may include the following:
- Neck pain
- Pain in the shoulder, arms, chest
- Weakness or numbness in your arms or fingers
- Pain during movement
- Reduced range of motion
The patient might consider numbness and pain due to a bulging disc as having a heart attack. Symptoms of a bulging disc depend highly on the amount of pressure it is putting on the spinal nerves. Often herniated discs and bulging discs are interchangeable. However, these two have quite some differences with herniated discs being the more advanced stage. Yes, eventually bulging discs become herniated discs. Cervical herniated discs occur when the intervertebral disc’s inner layer stretches out of the outer layer, therefore, into the spinal canal.
Causes of Bulging Discs:
Over time, disc degeneration caused due to wear and tear leads to bulging discs. This degeneration also causes the spinal discs to weaken. Other common bulging disc causes include:
- Strain or injury
- Poor posture
- Inactivity or sedentary lifestyle
- Lifting heavy weight leads to long-term trauma
Some of the general causes of a bulging disc in the neck include the following:
- Neck muscles get strained
- Injury to the neck muscles but no proper treatment is received for it
- Prolonged sitting in the same or poor position and physical inactivity
- Exertion on the cervical vertebrae due to overweight
- Degeneration and decline in the body’s healing process due to increasing age.
Bulging disc Vs. Herniated disc:
In a bulging disc, the outer wall of the intervertebral disc remains intact. However, with a herniated disc the inner layer (nucleus) leaks out into the spinal canal through the rupture in the annulus (outer layer). Our cervical spine consists of vertebrae ranging from C1 through C7. Out of these vertebrae, bulging discs in the neck are more common among C5-C6, followed by C6-C7 & then C4-C5. Myelopathy can also occur due to cervical bulging discs leading to various symptoms including:
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of motor skills
- Loss of balance
- Pain & stiffness in the neck
Moreover, unlike a bulging disc, pain is one of the common slipped disc symptoms as it is an advanced stage and is more likely to affect the nerves.
Prevention and care for Bulging Disc:
There are several ways to prevent & reduce the stress caused due to a bulging disc. Some of these precautions include:
- Maintain a proper posture
- Avoid lifting heavy objects, especially with improper posture
- Stay physically active and practice regular stretches & exercises for bulging disc
- Quit smoking
- Avoid sitting, standing, and bending repetitively
- Apply hot and cold therapy
- Avoid any high-impact activities
Bulging discs as well as cervical herniated or slipped discs can cause neck pain. Practice the above-mentioned preventive measures for bulging discs in the neck.
If you are experiencing increased symptoms or pain in the neck, book your appointment with KKT Orthopedic Specialists. KKT Pakistan offers non-surgical treatment for the victims of spinal ailments, and back and neck problems including slipped disc treatment. KKT treatment primarily focuses on the root cause of the pain.
For booking an appointment, kindly get in touch with us through our patient care line.
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