Our human skeletal system is the general framework of the body, consisting of bones and other connective tissues, which protects and supports the body tissues and our internal organs. There are approximately two hundred and six (206) bones in our body including the tiny bones in our ears which enables us to hear different sounds around us.
Unknown to many, a bulging disc is a type of spine injury that is sustained to your spine’s intervertebral discs that could occur or appear in the following areas:
- The lumbar spine or lower back
- The thoracic spine or the upper and mid-back portion
- The cervical spine or the neck
Literally, a disc is supposed to be in place or aligned along with other discs in a vertical manner and should not come out to either right or left portion of the spinal column. In cases where a disc slips or protrudes because of a sudden impact from an accident, the disc nucleus literally comes out of the annulus and is referred to as a herniated disc.
Distinction between a bulging disc from a herniated disc
A bulging disc is a kind or type of condition where the nucleus or inner portion of a spinal discs remains contained within the annulus fibrosus or the outer portion. On the other hand, a herniated disc is a condition in which the nucleus or the soft, gel-like tissue comes out or leaks out of the discs.
Spinal discs defined
Spinal discs refer to the shock-absorbing rings of fibrocartilage and glycoprotein that separates our bony vertebral bodies while allowing different back movements in our spinal level and giving enough space for the larger spinal nerves to come out off the spinal canal onto the limbs of our body.
The three degrees of spinal injury
- Mild disc strains or internal derangements
- Mild to moderate, severe disc bulges
- A completely ruptured disc and herniation of the nucleus through the annular wall
Causes of bulging discs
- Injury on the annulus – this significantly will contribute to the weakening of the spinal walls, and because of this, the nucleus will be pressed outwards on the weakened disc walls, causing your discs to bulge outwards.
- A pre-existing weakness in the annulus
- A protruded or slipped disc – can possibly put pressure or cause irritation on the nerve where it exits from the spine that can or will cause severe back pain, pins and needles, numbness, cramping, spasms and pain in your legs.
- An abrupt or quick amount of pressure on the discs can rupture the fibres in the annulus.
Three headings that cause disc injury
- Genetic factor – physical attributes that contribute to bulging discs include poor lower limb strength, poor core stability, and excess abdominal fat. Environmental factors include hazards and the amount of physical load that a person lifts or carries as compared to jobs that have a lighter nature like in an office doing a pen and paperwork.
- Sudden and unexpected load
- Accumulated microtrauma
Bulging discs symptoms
The amount of back pain could be aggravated based on the following activities or situations:
- Coughing or sneezing
- Forward bending
Treatment and medication
- Relief and protection from pain – the basic pain management is oral medication using a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen. Other interventions include the use of a back brace, soft tissue massage, acupuncture, and electrotherapy.
- Bulging discs exercises – this includes restoring your endurance, muscle tension and strength, normal alignment of joints, a comprehensive stretching program and a remedial massage that soothes your tired and weary muscles.
- Restoration of normal bodily functions – your physiotherapist will assist you from the beginning up to the end of your treatment. Recommendations on what to do and what not to do are given to you as precaution or prevention. Finally, following these stages of bulging disc treatment will assure or guarantee that it will prevent injuries from happening in the future.