If you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc, you are not alone. Bulging discs, also known as a disc protrusion, are a very common occurrence. They usually remain asymptomatic; however, they can cause discomfort and disability in various parts of the body if the disc compresses an adjacent nerve root or the spinal cord. As we age, the outer fibrous portion of our discs can weaken. Pressure from the central core of the disc can then stretch to the outer rim, causing the disc to bulge. If left untreated, the disc can continue to bulge until it tears, which is classified as a herniated disc.
Because a bulging disc does not always show symptoms, many people have bulging discs without realizing it. As long as the bulging area does not press against a nearby nerve, no symptoms occur. When the bulging disc does cause a pinched nerve, however, you may begin to experience symptoms. In the lower back, the damaged disc can cause pain to travel to the hips, buttocks, legs and feet. In the cervical spine, pain can radiate from the neck, down the arm and to the fingers.