What is a bulging disc?

You may have a bulging disc when a spinal disc becomes damaged, either through normal wear and tear or from an injury, the outer shell becomes weaker and the disc may bulge, or flatten. Usually, the disc will bulge to one side of the spinal canal.

What You May Be Feeling

Bulging Disc Neck Pain

Neck Pain








Leg Numbness

Leg Weakness

Leg Weakness

A bulging disc can cause symptoms like pain in your neck, shoulder, arm, or chest, as well as cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm or fingers. Finally, a bulging disc can also cause sciatic pain, which is a kind of pain that shoots down your lower back, buttock, or leg.

The pain and other symptoms come from the bulging disc rubbing against one or more of the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. Because the disc usually either bulges to the left or right, you’ll normally feel symptoms just in one side of the bone. 

Potential Treatment Options

A laminectomy is a very common procedure that removes a portion of what is known as a the lamina in order to create space in the area affected by the bulging disc. Learn More.


A laminotomy is a spinal decompression surgery where only a very small portion of the lamina is removed to remove pressure on the nerves and spinal cord to relieve pain. Learn More.


When the disc compresses the spinal cord or nerve root, removal is a consideration. The disc is replaced with an artificial disc to preserve motion at the disc space. Learn More.


During an ACDF the damaged disc in the neck is removed, relieving pain and pressure, while at the same time providing new much needed stability with a reinforced implant. Learn More.


During a lumbar fusion the damaged disc is removed from the lower back (lumbar spine), and the two vertebrae are fused together with a reinforced implant to create more support. Learn More.

Also known as an RFA, this procedure uses high-energy radio frequency to ablate the troubled nerve, essentially eliminating the source of pain. Learn More.


Things You Can Do At Home To Relieve Symptoms

  • Use an ice pack on the part of your back where the disc is – 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off

  • Use a heating pad on the back to lessen stiffness – it’s okay to alternate between heat and ice

  • Take short walks several times a day to loosen your back

  • Try stretching exercises to strengthen your back muscles

  • Try over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen

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