What is a disc bulge ?
A bulging disc can cause discomfort and disability in various parts of the body, depending on the location of the affected disc(s). A bulging disc occurs when one of the discs between your vertebrae develops a weak spot and pops out beyond its normal perimeter. Interestingly, many people might have a bulging disc and not even know it, as long as the bulging area does not press upon surrounding tissues. When the bulging disc impinges on the nerves of the spinal column, however, that’s typically when symptoms begin. In the lower back, the damaged disc can cause pain to travel to the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet. In the upper back, the pain would radiate from the neck down the arm and to the fingers.
Approximately 90% of bulging discs occur in the lower back, or lumbar area of the spine. The most common lumbar bulging disc is seen around levels L4-L5 (lumbar segments 4 and 5) or L5-S1 (lumbar segment 5 and sacral segment1), which causes pain in the L5 nerve or S1 nerve, respectively. If the bulging disc impinges on the sciatic nerve in the lower back, it can lead to a back problem called sciatica. On the other hand, if the bulging disc is located in the neck, it is called a cervical bulging disc.