Between 60% and 80% of American adults will suffer some form of back pain. For many of them, the cause will be a bulging disc in the spine. Most cases of a bulging disc occur in the lower back and are caused by overwork or straining the lumbar spine. This repetitive bending and torsion cause undue stress on the vertebrae, which presses on the flexible intervertebral disks in between. Too much pressure can cause this material to erupt out from between the vertebrae, “bulging” out or herniating and causing pain and inflammation.
The bulging disc material can also press on nerves of the spinal column, causing localized pain and referred pain in other parts of the body. Disc degeneration or injury are the major causes of a bulging disc, and repeated activity only exacerbates the condition. Common symptoms include back pain, numbness or tingling in the legs, weakness in the legs or feet and possibly loss of bladder or bowel control.
Dr. Roy Nini and Dr. Paul Lee are renowned Los Angeles pain management experts, especially regarding orthopedic conditions like a bulging disc. Using regenerative medicine techniques, the team at Full Range Spine & Ortho can diagnose your bulging disc condition and design a custom, non-invasive treatment plan to relieve the pain and restore mobility.
What are the Symptoms of a Bulging Disc?
A bulging disc, also known as a herniated disc or slipped disc, occurs when the soft tissue inside a spinal disc bulges out through a weak spot in the outer layer. This can cause pressure on nearby nerves and lead to a range of symptoms. The specific symptoms can vary depending on the location and severity of the bulging disc, but here are some common symptoms:
- Pain: The most common symptom of a bulging disc is pain in the affected area, which can range from mild to severe. The pain may be localized or radiate to other areas of the body.
- Numbness or tingling: If the bulging disc is putting pressure on a nerve, you may experience numbness or tingling in the affected area. This can occur in the arms, legs, or back.
- Weakness: If the bulging disc is affecting a nerve that controls muscle function, you may experience weakness in the affected area. This can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks or engage in physical activity.
- Reduced range of motion: A bulging disc can limit your range of motion and make it difficult to move your spine or limbs.
- Sciatica: If the bulging disc is in the lower back, it may put pressure on the sciatic nerve, which runs down the back of the leg. This can cause pain, numbness, or tingling in the leg, foot, or toes.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we want to help you at Full Range Spine & Ortho. Dr. Nini or Dr. Lee can properly diagnose your bulging disc and recommend appropriate non-surgical treatments to alleviate your symptoms and prevent further damage.
What Causes a Spinal Slipped Disc?
A spinal bulging disc, also known as a herniated or slipped disc, is caused by the soft tissue inside a spinal disc bulging out through a weak spot in the outer layer. This can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Age-related wear and tear: As we age, the spinal discs lose their flexibility and elasticity, making them more prone to damage.
- Injury or trauma: A sudden injury or trauma, such as a fall or car accident, can cause a disc to herniate.
- Repetitive strain: Repetitive movements or strain on the spine, such as heavy lifting or bending, can cause a disc to bulge.
- Genetics: Some people may be predisposed to spinal disc problems due to inherited traits.
- Poor posture: Poor posture over time can put extra pressure on the spinal discs, causing them to weaken and bulge.
- Obesity: Excess weight can put extra strain on the spine, making it more vulnerable to disc damage.
- Smoking: Smoking can decrease blood flow to the spinal discs, making them more vulnerable to damage.
It’s important to note that not everyone who has these risk factors will develop a spinal bulging disc. However, being aware of these risk factors can help you take steps to prevent disc damage and maintain spinal health. Regardless of what has caused your slipped or herniated disc in your spine, our team is equipped to help at Full Range Spine & Ortho.
What Area of the Back Do Bulging Discs Occur?
Bulging discs can occur in any part of the spine, but they are most common in the lower back (lumbar spine) and the neck (cervical spine). Our physicians are fully qualified to treat bulging discs at any location of the spine. Our clinic proudly does so with the most proven and advanced non-surgical therapies available.
Are You at Risk for a Bulging Disc?
No one is exempt from developing a bulging disc, especially since this can be a result of an accidental injury. However, there are certain people that may be more at risk than others. When it comes to age, bulging discs are more common in older adults, particularly those over the age of 40. There is no significant difference in the prevalence of bulging discs between men and women, but obesity, smoking and occupations that involve heavy lifting or repetitive bending can undoubtedly increase your risk for disc herniation along the spine.
What Happens When a Bulging Disc Goes Untreated?
If a bulging disc goes untreated, it can lead to several potential complications and worsening of symptoms. At Full Range Spine & Ortho in Los Angeles, we want to help patients avoid the following potential consequences of an ignored or neglected bulging disc:
- Chronic pain: The most common symptom of a bulging disc is pain in the affected area. Without treatment, the pain may become chronic and debilitating.
- Nerve damage: If the bulging disc compresses a nerve, it can cause nerve damage. This can result in weakness, numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in the affected limb or body part.
- Disability: In severe cases, a bulging disc can lead to disability, making it difficult or impossible to perform daily activities, including work and hobbies.
- Spinal cord compression: If the bulging disc compresses the spinal cord, it can lead to spinal cord compression. This can cause more serious symptoms, including loss of bowel or bladder control, difficulty walking, and even paralysis.
- Increased risk of injury: If the bulging disc affects your balance and coordination, it can increase your risk of falls and other injuries.
If you suspect you have a bulging disc or are experiencing any symptoms associated with it, we want to hear from you as soon as possible at Full Range Spine & Ortho. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the condition from worsening and potentially leading to more severe complications. You’ll be happy to know that none of our treatments involve invasive procedures or surgery.
Regenerative Treatment for Herniated Disc in Los Angeles, Fullerton
Regenerative treatment for herniated disc seeks to harness the body’s own natural healing mechanisms and give the body a healing boost. This naturally relieves pain and discomfort and speeds the healing process. Our regenerative treatments for a bulging disc include:
- Physical therapy
- Biological treatments
- Stem cell therapy
- Interventional pain management
Most cases of a herniated disc will heal and resolve with these non-invasive treatments. Dr. Nini or Dr. Lee may recommend a combination of these therapies as part of your tailored treatment plan. Contact any of our four locations of Full Range Spine & Ortho today, and schedule an exam and consultation if you believe your lower back pain could be a bulging disc.
The most appropriate treatments for you will depend on the cause, nature, and severity of your bulging disc pain.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Nini at Full Range Ortho in Los Angeles or Beverly Hills to receive a custom-tailored bulging disc treatment plan.