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What Is a Bulging Disk?

A bulging disk refers to a spinal condition. This ailment, which is usually in the lumbar (lower back) region, happens when a spinal disk actually bulges through a gap in the spine. Disks are actually soft and are made from a gelatinous material that helps in giving a cushioning effect to the spine’s vertebrae. The bulging disk will happen when the disk shifts beyond its normal radius. This most often happens because of the aging process.

It should be noted that a bulging disk is not the same as a herniated disk. A bulging disk will usually happen gradually over time. It is not an ailment that occurs suddenly. A herniated disk, on the other hand, often happens as a result of an injury of a trauma that happens to the spine. A vast majority of patients who suffer from a bulging disk report no pain. An uncomfortable, sometimes painful, feeling only happens when the disk becomes herniated or if it touches a nerve.

In a majority of cases, a bulging disk is diagnosed secondary to another spinal problem. The reason for this is that the bulging disk rarely causes pain. The condition is usually discovered during a routine or diagnostic imaging test like an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). A bulging disk is not considered problem. It only becomes one if it begins to cause pain, becomes herniated or, in worst cases, it ruptures.

Treatment for bulging disks is usually confined to rest and limits on lifting heavy objects. A doctor may also recommend a heat and ice therapy and anti-inflammatory medicines. Cortisone injections are also administered in some cases.

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