Bulging or Herniated Disc

The intervertebral discs are located between each vertebrae.  They provide cushioning between the bony vertebrae and allow movement of the spine. With aging, the discs lose water content and become more brittle and likely to be damaged. Degenerative disc disease may appear at any spinal segment and result in disc tears, herniation, bulging, and rupture.  These changes may also cause compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots.  Symptoms will depend on the type of degenerative changes and the effect on the neighboring structures, such as nerves, muscles and bones.  We specialize in diagnosing and providing non-surgical options.

How do I know if I have a herniated disc?

It can be confusing to understand the potential issues with the spine. Common phrases include herniated disc, pinched nerve, bulging disc, slipped disc, and more. Spinal discs can cause pain in two main ways: a pinched nerve, or pain from a spinal disc.

When a disc starts to degenerate, or wear down, material can leak out of the disc, and affect and irritate surrounding tissue, including nerves. Pinched nerves cause sharp, shooting pains that radiate to other parts of the body, including to the legs. The disc itself can also cause pain if it has become unstable. You may feel lower back pain, where most of the movement and weight bearing takes places as you move.

Which discs herniate Most Often?

The most common discs to herniate are in the cervical spine (neck area), and the lumber spine (lower back).

How Does Diagnosis Work?

Dr. Joyal will consider a variety of factors when looking for degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, and other issues. He’ll consider the location of the pain, the nature of the pain, and which activities trigger pain. This can include movement tests, muscle strength tests, and reflex tests. A CT scan, MRI, or discogram may also be used.

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