The terms "Disc Herniation, Disc Bulge, and Disc Protrusion" are all terms that describe damage to the all important "shock absorbers" or discs of the spine. These intervertebral (between the vertebrae) discs function as shock absorbers by providing a protective functional cushion between the vertebrae or bones of the spine. However, the inner core of the disc is composed of a gelatinous substance known as the nucleus pulposis, and similar to a "jelly donut", it is susceptible to excessive compressive forces that can cause it to bulge, protrude, herniate or even extrude beyond the outer fibrous layers of the disc (known as the annulus fibrosis). This, in turn, usually causes direct or indirect painful pressure on the spinal nerves or spinal cord.
Symptoms can range from simply dull back or neck pain, to sharp, intense to excruciating lower back or neck pain that travels down one or both legs (if it's a lumbar - lower back disc) or arms (if it's a cervical - neck disc), with associated numbness, tingling and/or weakness in the leg or foot, arm or hand, all the way into the toes or fingers (depending on the location of the disc lesion). The degree of bulging, protrusion, herniation or extrusion of this internal gel determines the degree of pain, dysfunction, and disability experienced.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you'll need to schedule an exam with your doctor (or with our offices) to obtain an MRI as soon as possible. If you've already received an MRI exam and have been told that you have a disc problem that requires epidural steroid injections or surgery, STOP . . . before you agree to a more invasive procedure, contact our offices first for a complimentary evaluation and MRI review. Our Spine Specialists will review your information, confirm or correct your diagnosis, and outline the best treatment options available to you. Hopefully, you can avoid surgery and/or needle injections, and find relief with one of our highly effective nonsurgical treatment methods. The only way to find out is to call us at: 619-472-2225 to get the information you need to make the best decision for your health and welfare.
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