Each spinal bone is cushioned by small, round, pillow-like discs. Inside each disc is a nucleus which is protected by a tough, outer layer of cartilage called the annulus. These 23 discs act as shock absorbers for the vertebrae in the spinal column.
A bulging disc -- sometimes called a herniated disc, slipped disc, or ruptured disc -- occurs when the gelatinous, liquid-like material of the nucleus swells through the weakest point of the disc’s shell. The disc balloons in between the bones, like a burger patty too big for its bun, and symptoms worsen as the condition progresses. However, it can also be difficult to identify a bulging disc before it reaches the herniation stage, as there may be no discomfort until it reaches a certain size.
When the disc begins to exert pressure on nearby nerves, you may experience sensations such as muscle spasms or difficulty performing basic movements, like walking or lifting objects. If the swollen disc happens in the cervical spine, you may feel tingling in the fingers, hands, neck, or in between each shoulder. Discomfort around the lower back, hip, buttock, thigh, or foot may also be felt if the bulging disc occurs in the lumbar spine, as the sciatic nerve may be affected.
Bulging discs are commonly caused by the natural aging process and disc degeneration. Other risk factors that increase disc vulnerability include:
When you’re severely hurt, it may feel like nothing except surgery can help you. At The Spine & Rehab Group, however, we do our best to treat sciatica, back pain, knee pain, fractures, sports injuries, and herniated or bulging discs through a number of non-invasive therapies that guarantee permanent relief.
And after over 20,000 procedures performed on an outpatient basis, we know precisely how to maximize safety, efficiency, and comfort for all patients. With our team of physicians and pain specialists, we try to get our patients back to an active, healthy lifestyle through the lens of interventional medicine. We work with you to find the most ideal solution for complete pain relief. Schedule an appointment with our veteran medical professionals today.
Board Certified Physicians | Harvard Trained Doctors | Award-Winning NYC and NJ Doctors | Over 15 Years of Experience | Experience With Over 15,000 Procedures | Effective Treatment Plans | Non-Surgical Approach | Immediate Appointments | Convenient Location | Early Morning and Evening Hours
While millions of Americans suffer bulging discs in the US each year, many patients tend to misunderstand the problem. Despite its prevalence, there are many misconceptions circulating about bulging discs. Here are some of these myths, debunked:
Fact: It is physically impossible for a disc to slip, as it is firmly held in place by two thick ligaments. The rubbery annulus coating the nucleus also ensures that the disc remains in between individual vertebrae. When people say that discs “slip”, they are actually talking about herniation. Discs herniate in four levels:
Fact: While it’s necessary to lie down when you’re experiencing intense moments of pain, mild exercise is actually an effective form of pain management. Simple walking, stretching, and other gentle activities can relieve pressure from the spinal cord and put it back into a better alignment. And when your back is in good shape, it’s better protected from future injuries.
Fact: Most people think getting a medical diagnosis for bulging disc is a sure visit to an orthopedic surgeon’s operating table. However, that’s not the case with reputable specialists. A surgeon with adequate experience in orthopedics will only recommend surgical treatment as a final solution when conservative medicine has failed. A high proportion of bulging discs actually improve and recover on their own with treatments like acupuncture, spinal injections, physical therapy, pain medicine, or spinal manipulation through chiropractic care.
The Spine & Rehab Group is led by Dr. Amr Hosny, a board-certified and Harvard trained interventional specialist. He received extensive training and experience at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University NYC, and Harvard Medical School. And over the last 15 years, he and the medical staff of The Spine & Rehab Group have built a reputation of total commitment to helping patients reclaim their health from spinal issues and related conditions.
As a veteran healthcare provider, Dr. Hosny knows how to balance patient needs and goals -- without needing to perform orthopedic surgery. Alongside Dr. Hosny is a team of highly-rated medical experts -- doctors, podiatrists, orthopedists, chiropractors, sports medicine professionals, and physical therapists -- all serving at fully-equipped locations around Manhattan and north New Jersey.
Whether you’re suffering from a bulging disc or any other disorders in the musculoskeletal system, Dr. Hosny will provide a complete, personalized treatment plan that is sure to relieve your pain and enable you to resume a fit and healthy life.
The expert bulging disc doctors of The Spine & Rehab Group in NJ have a non-surgical approach to treated disc herniation. After a thorough physical examination and an MRI examination, we would most likely recommend procedures like:
Q: What is the difference between a bulging disc and a herniated disc?
A: Although both terms are used interchangeably, a bulging disc only affects the outer layer of tough cartilage. On the other hand, a herniated disc covers the whole perimeter through a crack in the annulus, which allows the soft nucleus inside to protrude. If a bulging disc is a hamburger patty too big for its buns, a herniated disc is more like a jelly donut with the filling spilling out. Compared to a bulging disc, disc herniation is more likely to cause irritation or inflammation on the nerve roots because it protrudes further.
Q: When should I go to the doctor for a bulging disc?
A: It’s best to visit a physician if signs of a swollen disc have been present for more than 4 weeks. Seek immediate medical attention if the pain was triggered by a fall or accident. You should also head to a hospital emergency room if there is a severe headache, significant leg or arm weakness, urine or stool incontinence, loss of feeling in the hip region, and a fever or other signs of infection.
Q: What is pain management for a bulging disc like?
A: There are a number of at-home remedies that can help ease discomfort caused by a bulging disc. Changing body posture, positioning, and behaviors like sleeping and sitting can help reduce discomfort caused by the affected disc. Reducing weight can also minimize pressure, while rehabilitation can strengthen the core muscles against discomfort. Heat packs, ice packs, massage therapy, and gentle exercises or stretches can all assist in managing pain as well.
Q: What are the signs of a disc herniation?
A: Signs of disc herniation vary depending on its location, so it’s best to get an accurate diagnosis from the hospital first. For a bulging lumbar disc, patients may experience lower back and hip pain, numbness or tingling, and limited mobility in terms of sitting, standing, or walking for a long period of time. A person with a problem in their cervical disc would have mid to upper back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and discomfort in the arm or hand.
The Spine & Rehab Group has clinics in several locations around New Jersey and New York. If you’re looking for experts on diagnostics, rehabilitation, and pain management for untreated musculoskeletal conditions near the town of Westfield, NJ, our office in Cranford is less than 10 minutes away. We have fully-equipped clinics in Paramus, Englewood Cliffs, and Riverdale that can cater to NJ patients as well. Our dedicated team of highly-educated, board-certified physicians and medical staff will make sure to treat you for pain relief so you can join activities around Westfield once more.
After receiving the best care from us, you can walk around Westfield’s bustling downtown shopping area without any pain. Visit Lenape Park’s wildlife reserve, catch an outdoor jazz concert, or tour the 18th century farm at the Miller-Cory House Museum. You can even participate in the annual AddamsFest activities hosted in honor of Charles Addams -- Addams Family cartoonist and Wakefield resident. Do all this and explore more of Wakefield without any discomfort holding you back.
Our fully-equipped clinics in Union County are easy and convenient to visit -- especially for senior citizens and patients with limited mobility -- because you don’t need to go to a separate office for diagnosis and treatment. We can provide you with everything you need for healing any chronic, acute, or sports-related aches, pains, injuries, and other spinal issues. Contact us today to learn more about our services.