When the tough exterior portion of a spinal disc extends beyond its normal position between two vertebrae, it results in a condition referred to as a bulging disc. Although there are small differences between the conditions, a bulging disc is often referred to as a herniated disc and slipped disc. For many people, a bulging disc is accompanied by painful—and sometimes debilitating—symptoms.
The most commonly cited cause for bulging discs are aging and normal wear-and-tear, however, other factors can also play a role, such as:
The most common symptoms of bulging discs include numbness, tingling, and pain at the location of the affected disc. For example, a bulging disc in the neck (cervical spine) can cause symptoms to appear in the arms, shoulders, and hands. For a bulging disc in the lower back (lumbar spine) the symptoms would manifest in the legs and feet indicates. And if the symptoms appear in the chest and abdomen areas, this may be a sign of a bulging disc in the middle back area (thoracic spine).
If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of a bulging disc, use our pain assessment tool to start your diagnosis.
In most cases, the first step in treating a bulging disc begins with conservative, non-surgical treatment options. These types of treatments help determine whether or not the disc is able to repair itself and return to the proper shape, which results in the elimination of pressure on nearby nerves and relief from painful symptoms. Non-surgical treatments include:
If conservative treatment does not remedy the bulging disc, or if the condition of the bulge was deemed beyond the help of non-surgical options and surgery is required, robotic-assisted techniques offer the most minimally invasive options for surgery candidates. Robotic-assisted treatment options for bulging discs include: