Disc Bulges and Herniation
What is a Disc Bulge and Herniation
Discs are cushions between the vertebrae in your back. There is a tough layer of cartilage surrounding softer cartilage in the center.
A disc bulge occurs when the disc extends outside the space it should normally occupy. Disc bulging occurs in the neck (cervical), lower back (lumbar) or in the mid-back (thoracic).
A disc herniation results when a crack in the outer layer of cartilage allows some of the softer inner cartilage to protrude out of the disc. As you can see below, the protrusion of inner cartilage in a herniated disk usually happens in one area of the disc. Herniated discs are also called ruptured disks or slipped disks.
What Causes Disc Bulges and Herniation
Disc bulges and herniation often happens during car accident cases and motor vehicle accidents. This is because there can be a sudden increase in pressure through the disc causing fibers to tear.
How to Treat Disc Bulges and Herniation
A disc bulge or herniated disc may be detected on an MRI scan. Disc bulges and herniation normally cause decreased range of motion of the spine and back.
In most cases, victims feel pain for over four to six weeks. The most severe pain occurs during the first two weeks. Non surgical treatment is usually the option. A victim should consult with a physical therapist. The victims will normally be placed on a treatment of medications (advil), steroids and injunctions if there is swelling (edema), temperature therapy (hot and cold packs), stretching and controlled physical therapy, muscle relaxants, and sometimes even psychological counseling.
In severe cases, surgery may be an option. A discectomy is the surgical removal of herniated disc material that presses on a nerve root or the spinal cord. A precutaneous discectomy occurs when there are bulging discs and discs that have not ruptured into the spinal canal. The herniated disc tissue is removed in an effort to reduce the size of the herniation. A laminotomy is a surgery done to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.