Bulging discs : Types and Symptoms

Bulging discs : Types and symptomsDisc bulges or bulging disc is a common injury in the spine. It is caused due to the bulging out of intervertebral disc at a weak spot in the spine by pressurising the spinal cord and nerves. It can occur in lumbar spine (lower back), thoracic spine ( upper and mid-back) or cervical spine (neck)


Bulging of disc is commonly called as slipped disc or protruding disc and in some severe cases the disc nucleus comes out of the annulus, known as herniated disc.

The bulging of discs can occur in three different areas of the spine and so the symptoms also vary from one another.

Cervical Bulging Discs

Cervical bulging discCervical bulging disc is found in the neck and you can identify it through symptoms including numbness, pain, tingling and weakness in arms, fingers, hands, shoulders and neck. Even myelopathy, difficulty to walk and losing of fine motor skills, can occur if the spinal cord gets compressed due to the bulging.



Thoracic Bulging Discs

Thoracic bulging discs are occurred between end of rib cage and the collar bone. These are rare type of disc bulging with symptoms of upper back pain which extends to chest or stomach. This condition is often misunderstood as a heart, lung or stomach problem. Taking an MRI scan of the spine would be the best way to identify thoracic bulging discs.

Lumbar Bulging Discs

Lumbar bulging discs occur in the regions that extends from the waist to the hips, including five or six vertebrae. This is very common and the main source for back pains. It can also cause numbness, muscle spasms or weakness in the legs and can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve causing pain, numbness and tingling in the right leg.

The effect and pain varies in lumbar bulging discs, like, it can be sharp, burning, dull or radiate to the glutes, legs and feet. Symptoms can be known while cough, bend over or sneeze.

Thoracic bulges can also be the reason for bladder or bowel loss sometimes. These are rare cases but seeking immediate treatment would be a good idea, as in this situation the bulging disc could be compressing a nerve bundle and usually an immediate surgery would be needed.

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