Signs You Might Have a Bulging Disc

May 7th 2016

Bulging discs can occur for a variety of reasons that range from improper posture when lifting heavy objects to the natural aging process. Understanding the signs of a bulging disc and the complications that may arise from the condition can help sufferers promptly detect symptoms and seek appropriate medical treatment.

Cervical Bulging Disc Symptoms

If a bulging disc occurs in the neck area, it is referred to as a cervical bulging disc with symptoms that include tingling or numbing sensations in the neck and shoulders, neck pain and weakness in the hands and arms. Sufferers may also experience a heavy sensation in the legs and have difficulty moving the fingers.

Thoracic Bulging Disc Symptoms

Bulging discs that occur in the area of the spine between the collar bone and the lower portion of the rib cage are referred to as thoracic bulging discs. A common symptom is discomfort in the upper portion of the back that may travel to the abdomen or the chest. This type of bulging disc is uncommon, and symptoms may be mistaken for those of a heart attack or gastrointestinal issue.

Lumbar Bulging Disc Symptoms

The area of the spine between the waist and hips is referred to as the lumbar region. When a bulging disc occurs in this area, it is referred to as a lumbar bulging disc and has symptoms that include pain in the lower back area that may travel into the buttock area, tingling in the legs and muscle spasms.

If the disc proceeds to push on the sciatic nerve, the condition is referred to as sciatica. While rare, lumbar bulging discs can also cause incontinence of the bladder or bowels. If incontinence occurs, it is imperative that sufferers seek immediate medical attention, as emergency surgery may be required.

Treatment for Bulging Discs

In many cases, bulging disc symptoms can be treated and managed with physical therapy and medications to reduce pain. Surgical procedures may also be recommended if conservative treatments prove ineffective or if bulging discs cause severe, chronic pain.


A bulging discs occurs when one or more discs that cushion the bones in the spinal cord swells or balloons out, causing pressure on the spinal cord or surrounding nerves. Factors that can contribute to the condition include heavy lifting or movements that cause the spine to twist, weakened back muscles and obesity that causes excess pressure on the spine. Bulging discs can occur in any area of the spine between the lower back and neck.

Symptoms of bulging discs can vary from person to person, depending on the location and severity of the injury. In certain cases, bulging discs can lead to complications such as nerve damage if left untreated. Learning about the signs of bulging discs and seeking immediate medical attention when symptoms arise can help to ensure a prompt diagnosis and efficient treatment.

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