Bulging discs are a common spinal injury. They can occur in any part of your spine, from your lumbar spine (lower back) up to the cervical spine in your neck.


You may also hear people refer to a bulging disc as a “slipped disc” or a “protruding disc”. When the bulge is significant enough, we call it a “herniated disc”.


At the Pain Relief Center in Plano, Texas, we seek to eradicate pain rather than simply achieving short-term relief.

Spinal discs are cartilaginous discs that sit between the bony parts of your spine. They absorb shock and allow movement in all parts of the spine. They also provide room for the major spinal nerves to exit from the spinal canal.


A spinal disc injury can range in severity from a minor strain or internal derangements, all the way to complete disc ruptures. Let’s break down the actual anatomy of a spinal disc.


First, the center of the disc is the disc nucleus. It’s the liquid component of the disc. It moves and shifts to adjust to your body’s movements, as well as the pressure on your spine.


There is also a firm outer section of the disc that holds the liquid component in shape. This is the annulus. If the disc nucleus bulges past the annulus, the disc becomes herniated. This can happen if a spinal injury is severe enough that it injures the annulus.


When a disc bulges, it can pinch the nerve exiting the spine. This causes the traditional symptoms of bulging discs: back pain, spasms, cramping, numbness, pins and needles, and pain in the legs.

You can experience sciatica, leg pain, pins and needles, numbness or weakness if you have a bulging disc. If the injury is severe enough, you may also experience altered bladder and bowel function.


If you are suffering from an injured disc, you may experience back pain while:

  • sitting
  • forward bending
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • lifting
  • straining

When a bulging disc, disc herniation, or disc rupture occurs, there are several different possible causes. Some of these causes might be:

  • A pre-existing weakness in the annulus, or
  • A sudden increase in pressure through the disc causing fibers of the annulus to tear.


The causes of disc injury usually fall under three headings:

Accumulated Microtrauma

Repeated microtrauma over an extended period can lead to eventual disc injury. The best example of accumulated microtrauma is poor posture.


Poor posture puts a strain on your spine. Sustained slouching, or forward bending of your spine leads to overstretching of the disc. It also weakens the annulus. Over time, the disc nucleus may slip outside the annulus this way.


To decrease the effect of poor pressure, you should maintain a good posture or regularly change your posture.

Sudden Unexpected Load

A sudden unexpected load to the intervertebral disc may occur with trauma. For instance, a car accident may place sudden forces on your body, and thus, strain the intervertebral disc. Unexpected torsion of a disc may tear the fibers of the annulus, injuring the disc. You can avoid injuries like this by following proper procedures when lifting heavy objects.


Genetic Factors

You can have a genetic predisposition to disc injuries. For instance, because of your genes, you may have naturally thinner intervertebral discs or an increased elastin component in the disc. There may be environmental factors involved in your disc injury as well: excess abdominal fat, poor core stability, and poor lower limb strength can contribute to disc injury. Genetic factors are a minor contributing factor in disc injuries. If you do suffer a disc injury, you can never put it completely down to genetic factors.

Your team at the Pain Relief Center can diagnose your spinal disc injury due to symptoms and the history of the injury.


We can also perform clinical tests to confirm a spinal disc injury, and rule out other kinds of nerve compression. For the most part, MRIs and CT scans are the most effective when diagnosing a spinal disc injury.

Medical intervention will help speed on your recovery from a spinal disc injury. However, your body will also attempt to heal itself, as it will with all injuries. But this can be a long and painful process, and there is always the chance that you could further injure your spinal disc.

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The most critical step on the path to recovery is finding a pain management doctor who can address your pain management needs successfully. The Pain Relief Center and its five specialized institutes are dedicated to meeting any and all of a patient’s needs. Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Dr. Rodriguez and his friendly staff will help you along the path to recovery.

Our new center in Dallas is part of a nationwide development by Pain Relief Centers, geared to providing individualized and comprehensive healing and pain management services with unprecedented levels of compassion, care, and comfort for each patient.

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