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The spinal discs are rubbery cushions that are between the vertebrae, providing shock absorption and protection for the spinal column. Injury, disease and degeneration can cause tears or ruptures in the discs, causing the gel-like substances inside the disc to protrude. This spinal condition is called a bulging disc, which can irritate surrounding nerves. A bulging disc can occur anywhere in the spine, including the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions. DOCS Health provides bulging disc treatments for all areas of the spine at our medical center in Los Angeles.

Cervical Bulging Disc

The top seven vertebrae and spinal discs are in the cervical spine. A cervical bulging disc can occur from a neck injury, or due to degenerative disease or other factors. The symptoms of a bulging or herniated cervical disc usually impact the neck, shoulders, arms and hands, but can travel lower. These symptoms include:

  • Pain in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers
  • Tingling, burning or numbness in the arms or hands
  • Weakness in the arms or fingers
  • Headaches
  • Upper back pain
  • Leg weakness and balance issues

Thoracic Bulging Disc

The thoracic spine includes 12 vertebrae and spinal discs that are in the upper to middle back. While the thoracic spine is less likely to have a herniated or bulging disc than the cervical or lumbar spine, it can occur. Injuries, disease and degenerative conditions can result in a thoracic bulging disc, with the following possible symptoms:

  • Pain in the mid to upper back
  • Tingling or numbness radiating to the arms or legs
  • Pain in the neck or shoulders
  • Radiating pain around the chest – may mimic heart, stomach or lung problems

Lumbar Bulging Discs

The last five or six vertebrae and discs at the bottom of the spine are the lumbar spine. Flattened, bulging discs are more common in the lumbar spine due to the strain put on this region. Degenerative disease, wear/tear, injuries and other factors can contribute to lumbar bulging discs. Symptoms can include:

  • Low back pain
  • Sciatica – tingling, pain and numbness radiating into the buttocks and legs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain when standing or walking

Bulging discs in any area of the spine can compress nerves, causing pain, weakness and other symptoms. Most bulging discs can be treated with conservative treatments and do not require surgery. Many patients can get relief with interventional pain treatments, including injection therapy and other options, with surgery only recommended when conservative treatments are ineffective.

If you have symptoms of a bulging disc in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine, contact us at DOCS Health. We can schedule an exam with one of our spine specialists at our medical center in Beverly Hills.