A bulging disc injury can be very painful. A disc bulge occurs when a section of the disc squeezes against a nerve root from the spinal cord and presses on it, this results in nerve pain presenting in a limb.
Depending on the degree of the injury, some patients may experience a wide range of symptoms which include numbness, pains, tingling, pins and needles or even muscle spasms.
Spinal discs are cushions that act as shock absorbers between the bony vertebrae in one’s spine. Discs have an outer layer of tough cartilage. In the centre, the disc is made of softer cartilage.
Spinal discs can be degenerative and show signs of wear and tear with age. In later life, discs become less fluid-like, and the cartilage stiffens. The aforementioned changes may cause the disc to bulge out all the way around its border.
A disc bulge doesn’t always affect the whole edge of the disc, however, at least half of the disc’s circumference is typically affected.
A herniated disc occurs when the outer layer of cartilage fails and opens which allows the softer inner cartilage to protrude out laterally of centrally of the disc.
Another term for a herniated disc is a disc rupture or slipped disc, although the whole disc cannot slip. A small area which is crack is normally affected.
A bulging disc is less likely to cause pain when compared to a herniated disc. A herniated disc generally protrudes farther and is much more likely to irritate spinal nerves. Painful inflammation of the nerve root can occur following a disc herniation, as the disc compresses the nerve which results in painful irritation.
Inflammation and swelling are common from the extruded liquid from the nucleus pulposus.
An MRI is normally required to diagnose a herniated disc. Some people with low back pain will have imaging testing that indicates that they do not have a herniated disc. Therefore, it may be a muscle injury or weak core causing the pain.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
When compressed, the spinal nerves or cord do not work properly. Compressed nerves will send abnormal signals to the limbs, or, worse, these signals may not get sent at all. Common symptoms of a herniated disc include stabbing, shooting, burning pain, an “electric” feeling in the affected limb, muscle weakness and tingling & numbness.
Physiotherapy rehabilitation is vital in one’s recovery from a herniated disc. Your spine was made to move in all directions. In fact, your spine needs to be moved continually to maintain its health. Many people may experience difficulties due to a lack of movement which can result in lower back stiffness and pain. Doing gentle exercises and activities will improve the strength of the muscles that support your spine, and will help to reduce pressure forces on the spinal column.
DC Physiotherapy are experts in assessing low back pain injuries and picking the right rehabilitation exercise and providing the perfect hands on treatment in clinic.