What Is a Bulging Disc?
When it comes to discs, the terms bulging, ruptured and herniated are often used interchangeably. Though some doctors argue that there’s a difference between each term, others believe that the basic concepts are roughly the same. In order to paint you an all-encompassing portrait of the spinal system and its associated pain triggers, we’ll explain the situation in slightly more broad terms.
Each spine consists of individual bones called vertebrae. Sandwiched between these bones is a disc that includes two elements: a fibrous outer layer and a soft core. This system is excellent in allowing the spine to stay flexible and protected, and the spaces between each vertebra provide room for the spinal nerves.
If one of these discs becomes injured, however, the soft core can begin to leak. This causes what’s known as a ruptured, herniated or bulging disc. It’s important to note that this rarely happens all at once; it requires several steps in the injury process. Eventually, the outer layer will weaken even further, and even standard movements can cause pressure that the compromised structure can’t handle. This is where the extreme pain begins, and it may result in pinched nerves. If you’re experiencing pain that radiates, tingles or numbs any area of your arm, leg, fingers and toes, a bulging disc might well be the cause.
What Causes a Bulging Disc?
Bulging discs are typically the result of repetitive stress and injuries. The entire vertebral system is incredibly resilient; because it’s intended for movement, it responds properly to stressors more often than not.
Still, a repetitive movement such as incorrect lifting or an improper sitting position can weaken the discs and cause vulnerabilities. Pretend your spine is a paper clip: It’s designed to bend, so it maintains its strength with movement. Wiggle it back and forth in the exact same manner, however, and it will eventually break. Though a bulging disc won’t force your spine to snap in two, the consistent and repetitive stress can cause the fibrous layer to break down, creating small cracks that allow the inner core to leak. That’s how a ruptured, herniated or bulging disc begins.
Another fantastic analogy for bulging discs is a balloon. Imagine stepping on a balloon without popping it: That bulge is reminiscent of your disc. If the inner core doesn’t leak out completely, it can cause the disc to bulge to one side similarly to the un-popped balloon.
How Will Pro Therapy Treat It?
Pro Therapy in Northern Mississippi is highly experienced in practicing physical therapy for bulging discs. Our team approach allows us to treat the core problem rather than merely the symptoms, and we use advanced diagnostic techniques and Northern Mississippi physical therapy to relieve pain and treat your bulging or herniated disc. What’s more, we’ll consult with your medical doctor to find the best treatment plan for your spinal issues. We hope we’ve been able to answer your question, “what is a bulging disc?”. Contact us to help relieve pain by scheduling an appointment for physical therapy for bulging discs with our experts.