Bulging Disc

Apex Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation

Nima Patel, PT, DPT

Physical Therapist located in Old Bridge Township, NJ

A bulging disc may not be painful at first, but it can develop into a herniated disc without treatment. Dr. Nima Patel, PT, DPT, and her team of highly trained professionals develop individualized treatment plans for patients with bulging and herniated discs at Apex Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation in Old Bridge, New Jersey. If you think you may have a bulging disc, call or book an appointment online.

Bulging Disc Q & A

What is a bulging disc?

Your spine is made up of 26 individual bones (vertebrae) stacked in a column. In between each bone is a soft disc that serves to cushion your spine and absorb shock. These discs resemble jelly doughnuts, made from a gel-like substance enclosed by a layer of cartilage.

Normally, each disc is perfectly sized to fit its surrounding vertebrae. A bulging disc occurs when all or part of the disc protrudes beyond the normal perimeter. This can happen anywhere along your spine but is most common in your neck (cervical spine) and low back (lumbar spine).

How do I know if I have a bulging disc?

A bulging disc is a common condition that doesn’t cause pain in many cases. However, a bulging disc can become painful if it puts pressure on a nerve root in your spine or if it ruptures, becoming a herniated disc.

When this happens, you may experience these common signs and symptoms of a bulging disc:

  • Back pain
  • Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
  • Weakness in your arms or legs
  • Muscle spasms or cramping

Bulging discs in your neck may irritate nerves that cause symptoms in your arms, while discs in the lower back may cause pain in your buttocks and legs.

What is the difference between a bulging and a herniated disc?

If left untreated, a bulging disc may lead to a herniated disc. The main difference between these two conditions is that a herniated, or ruptured disc, involves a tear in the cartilage that causes the jellylike interior to leak out. A herniated disc is more likely to cause pain than a disc bulge.

How do you treat a bulging disc with physical therapy?

If your primary care physician diagnoses you with a herniated disc, Dr. Patel and her expert team of physical therapists can get you on the path to recovery. They work with you to create an individualized treatment plan to alleviate pain and protect your spine from further damage.

Depending on your unique needs, treatment for a bulging disc may include:

  • Redcord® suspension treatment
  • Dry needling
  • The McKenzie Method® of physical therapy
  • The Mulligan Concept® manual therapy

In addition to one-on-one treatment at Apex Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation, Dr. Patel and her team teach you exercises and techniques to practice at home.

For the highest quality care of bulging discs or other sources of back pain, call or book an appointment online today.

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