When most people think disc pain, they think lower back pain, but Dr. Nikesh Seth often treats bulging discs in the neck, too. The spinal column extends from your cervical (neck) spine to your lower (lumbar) spine, and any of the vertebrae along this route can develop a bulging disc. Just like anywhere else on the spine, a bulging disc happens when a spinal disc is weakened and “bulges” out, often irritating the nerve branches that are exiting from the cord.
If you have bulging disc pain in your neck, the pain can also extend to your shoulders, arms, and even elsewhere on your back. Bulging discs can happen from acute, sudden trauma or they can happen over time. The spinal column itself tends to get weaker as a person ages, so simply getting older puts you at a higher risk of bulging disc pain. The spine is complex and made up of many interconnected bones (vertebrae). The bones are supposed to protect the soft tissue, nerves, and spinal cord. This means they have to be flexible, and that’s where the connective discs come into play. Spinal discs separate each bone in the spine and are made of elastic tissue. As the spine rotates or bends, the discs shift to support that movement and keep the bones from rubbing against each other—or at least, that’s what they’re supposed to do.
Sometimes spine discs get dislodged. Although this happens most often in the lower spine, it can happen anywhere on the spine including the neck. In severe cases, a bulging disc can become a herniated disc. Think of a bulging disc like a flat tire, and a herniated disc like a blown-out tire. You want to see a Scottsdale pain specialist before a flat becomes a blowout.
Specific exercises and stretches can help lessen pressure and reduce symptoms. Pain medication can also help to decrease discomfort. However, neither are an actual solution to bulging discs. Traditionally, one of the most common recommendations for treating bulging discs has been surgery, but a pain specialist has the expertise and tools to offer a variety of less invasive alternatives.
If you have back or neck pain, especially if it’s combined with tingling or numbness, you might have a disc injury. Call Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552 and schedule your consultation immediately.