Bulging Disc

About Bulging Discs

Bulging disc is most commonly related to disc degeneration a natural aging process. As the disc degenerates it loses its water content gradually and as the height of the disc diminishes the disc bulges circumferentially. Many people may have a bulging disc without knowing it. It is when a bulging disc is associated with an enlarged or swollen facet joint that nerve compression may occur. Also, a bulging disc may be complicated by a herniation of the nucleus of the disc through a tear in the annulus causing a disc herniation that may cause nerve compression as well.

Causes of bulging disc are degenerative related to aging and sometimes associated with smoking, obesity, and injury. Please see the bulging disc causes page for more.

Treatment will most often be conservative with modalities such as heat, anti-inflammatory medications and perhaps steroid injections. If you have failed all conservative options you may wish to view our bulging disc treatment page for minimally invasive surgical treatment options available to get your life back.

Symptoms of Bulging Discs

Bulging disc symptoms depend on the level in the spine. In general, the symptoms are related to nerve compression caused by the bulging disc.

Symptoms Cervical bulging disc

Cervical bulging disc symptoms are usually pain in the neck and between the shoulder blades sometimes associated with symptoms of pain, numbness or weakness in the arm related to nerve pressure or radiculopathy Symptoms

Thoracic bulging disc

Thoracic bulging disc symptoms are usually pain in the mid back and may radiate onto the chest wall or abdominal wall

Symptoms Lumbar bulging disc

Lumbar bulging disc symptoms are usually pain in the low back radiating to the top of the buttock and sometimes associated with symptoms of pain, numbness or weakness in the buttock and leg related to nerve pressure or radiculopathy.

We have minimally invasive procedures for foraminotomy and laminotomy to decompress nerves and treat bulging or herniated discs. For more information, contact us.

Diagnosing a Bulging Disc

Your physician may diagnose a bulging disc by MRI. The bulging disc should be visible on the MRI. Many are asymptomatic with bulging discs, so a diagnosis may not be the true source of your pain.

A careful medical history and physical exam with MRI and X-ray imaging usually will give the answers to explain the pain pattern.

Treatment and Prevention of Bulging Discs

Bulging Disc treatment

The bulging disc may heal on its own with conservative treatments. In fact, most bulging discs will never need surgery. Non-surgical conservative treatment should always be tried first. These may include physical therapy epidural steroid injections, hot/cold therapy, and medications for pain and inflammation.

If conservative treatment fails, there are a number of minimally invasive procedures that are alternative to traditional surgical procedures. For more information, contact us.

Alternative Treatment

The bulging disc may heal on its own with conservative treatments. Non-surgical conservative treatment should always be tried first. These may include physical therapy epidural steroid injections, hot/cold therapy, and medications for pain and inflammation.

Bulging disc Repair

Bulging disc repair is likely. If you are suffering back and leg pain from a bulging disc the bulging disc may heal itself without surgery.

The process of resorption of a disc herniation can occur weeks or months after bulging disc. The larger the disc herniation the more likely resorption will occur.

Surgery

If you cannot get comfortable with your bulging disc, then there are safe minimally invasive techniques as minimally invasive alternatives to open back surgery that may make you pain-free. For more information, contact us.

Prevention of Bulging Disc

Bulging disc Prevention

There does not seem to be any means of prevention of bulging disc. Most bulging discs are of a degenerative origin and are not traumatic although traumatic injury in the past may lead to a bulging disc. The truth is most bulging discs are not symptomatic and even the large disc herniations may heal with resorption.

Bulging Disc Types 

  • Mild Bulging Disc
  • Posterior Bulging Disc
  • Degenerative Bulging Disc

Cervical Bulging Disc

A cervical bulging disc occurs in the upper spine above the shoulders C2 through C7. The bulging disc is a loss of water of the disc that may occur with the aging process or with injury. The annulus may thin or bulge or weaken to the point that disc material may extrude into the spinal canal that is a disc herniation.

Bulging disc in the neck may cause chronic pain, and with a disc herniation or disc protrusion there may be nerve symptoms of Weakness, Numbness, Tingling and pain radiating into the arm.

The bulging disc may heal on its own with conservative treatments. Non-surgical conservative treatment should always be tried first. These may include physical therapy epidural steroid injections and medications for pain and inflammation.

If conservative treatment fails, there are a number of minimally invasive procedures that are alternative to traditional surgical procedures. For more information, contact us.

Lumbar Bulging disc

A lumbar bulging disc occurs in the lower levels of the spine typically at L4-5 and L5-S1. It may be associated with a disc herniation. The bulging disc is a desiccation of the disc that may occur with the aging process or with injury. The L4-5 and L5-S1 discs are the most commonly affected.  The annulus may thin or bulge or weaken to the point that disc material may extrude into the spinal canal.

Bulging disc in the back may cause chronic pain, and with a disc herniation or disc protrusion there may be nerve symptoms of Weakness, Numbness, Tingling and pain radiating into the leg.

The bulging disc may heal on its own with conservative treatments. Non-surgical conservative treatment should always be tried first. These may include physical therapy epidural steroid injections, hot/cold therapy, and medications for pain and inflammation.

If conservative treatment fails, there are a number of minimally invasive procedures that are alternative to traditional surgical procedures.

Small Bulging disc

When a small tear opens in the annular ligament it may allow gel-like nucleus pulposus to contact the outer ligament causing pain and even nerve symptoms. The bulging disc by itself will not cause pain but the leakage of the internal gel causes the pain.

A small bulging disc may heal on its own and conservative measures may speed it along.

If you cannot get comfortable then there are safe endoscopic techniques as minimally invasive alternatives to open back surgery that may make you pain-free.

Risk Factors of Bulging Disc

The risk factors of bulging disc are related to the degenerative process that causes the disc to dry out and lose its water or hydration. Aging and natural age-related changes are the most common risk factors. Smoking, poor posture, lifting improperly, failure to get exercise and poor diet all are risk factors for this disc degeneration.

Symptoms of bulging discs are usually minimal but when there is nerve compression then pain may extend into the shoulder or buttock or arm or leg.

Treating the Symptoms of Bulging Discs

Regardless of the location, symptoms produced by a bulging disc usually can be managed conservatively, using pain medication, behavior modification, physical therapy or other non-operative methods. However, if chronic pain persists after weeks or months of conservative treatment, surgery may become an option. There are minimally invasive, endoscopic procedures with far less disruption and a much shorter period of recuperation than traditional surgery. Contact us to learn more about bulging disc risk factors or for a free review of an MRI or CT scan.

 

Patient Portal

We are pleased to provide patients with secure, 24/7 access to their health records through Spine Pain Be Gone. Patients can safely and easily:

  • Request prescription refills
  • Update insurance/demographic information
  • Review financial statements/make secure payments
  • View lab and test results
  • Access relevant health education materials

Patient Portal Login

Read more

Call to request a free review of your MRI or CT scan today!

Spine Pain Be Gone
  • Back Neck and Spine Pain Stops Now

     

    Are you in need of back pain treatment? Looking for a back doctor in the San Antonio, TX area? Dr. Fogel of the Spine Pain Be Gone Clinic offers an alternative to traditional open back and neck surgeries. Utilizing world-class technologies and highly-advanced tools, Dr. Guy Fogel specializes with innovative minimally invasive spine surgery techniques for his patients.

     

               

    Common Conditions & Treatments

     

    Dr. Fogel offers his patients less painful and time-consuming surgical procedures as compared to traditional open back and neck surgeries, motion limiting fusion surgeries and artificial disc replacements.  He does this by utilizing the latest technologies and techniques for pain causing neck and back conditions through minimally invasive endoscopic procedures. 

     

     

Testimonials

Words from our patients

  • Vitals

    "He is warm, friendly, courteous and polite. He takes his time and answers all your questions. He did a lumbar fusion on me and I have had no problems."

    Verified Patient
  • Demandforce

    "Dr. Fogel is the most caring Dr. I have ever met. He always takes the extra time to make sure I understand everything that is going on in my treatment."

    Elizabeth S.
  • Demandforce

    "The best doctor I ever met and his staff go way beyond expectations to try to help. Seeing him was the best thing I ever did."

    Ronald P.
  • Demandforce

    "Dr. Fogel's surgical procedure on my spine three years ago totally eliminated my back pain. I highly recommend Dr. Fogel to any one needing back pain relief."

    Luis J.
  • Demandforce

    "He is an awesome doc! I highly recommend Dr. Fogel. I can say that I have my life back and can do a lot of things that I couldn't do before my surgeries."

    Joanne G.
  • Demandforce

    "They do their utmost best to get their patients back to living as well and as actively as possible. You will not find a better spinal team!"

    Michele P.
  • Demandforce

    "Dr. Fogel is awesome! He was very clear on my diagnosis and his recommendation of the procedure that I needed to fix the problem in my spine."

    Jaclyn R.
Ask us

Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!

Name
Email Address
Comments
Follow Us
Hours

Spine Pain Be Gone
8042 Wurzbach Road
#350
San Antonio, TX 78229