HERNIATED / BULGING DISC
The bones (vertebrae) that form the spine in the back are cushioned by small discs. These discs are round and flat, with an outer layer (annulus) that surrounds a jellylike material called the nucleus. These discs are in between each vertebrae and act as shock absorbers for the spinal bones.
A bulging disc doesn't always affect the entire perimeter of a disc, but anywhere from a quarter to half the disc's circumference is usually affected.
A herniated disc, on the other hand, results when a crack in the outer layer of the disc allows some of the softer inner cartilage to protrude out of the disc.
The term “slipped disc” may be also used for the above situation.
A single excessive strain or injury may cause a disc injury.
Disc material can also degenerate with a loss of function in the area, poor posture, repetitive strain or an ageing process. As this degeneration of the disc progresses, a relatively minor strain or twisting movement can cause a disc to become injured.
Symptoms vary greatly depending on the position of the injured disc and the size of the herniation or bulge. If the disc is pressing on a nerve, there may be pain, numbness or weakness in the area of the body to which the nerve travels.
Lumbar spine (lower back) Sciatica frequently results from a herniated / bulging disc in the lower back. Pressure on one or several nerves that contribute to the sciatic nerve may cause pain, burning, tingling, pins and needles and numbness that radiates from the buttock into the leg and sometimes into the foot. Usually one side (left or right) is affected. This pain often is described as sharp and electric shock-like. It may be more severe with standing, walking or sitting. Along with leg pain, a person may or may not experience low back pain.
Cervical spine (neck): Symptoms may include dull or sharp pain in the neck or between the shoulder blades, can radiate down the arm to the hand or fingers, numbness or tingling in the shoulder or arm can also occur. The pain and symptoms may increase with certain positions or movements of the neck.