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Herniated and Bulging Discs
A herniated disc is the most common form of serious injury to the back. The spine is made up of vertebrae (bones) and discs. The discs are located between each vertebrae and act like cushions between each vertebra. A herniated disc occurs when the disc ruptures (the nucleus pulposus), protrudes and presses on the surrounding nerves in the backbone. A bulging disc occurs when the disc develops a weak spot and expands beyond its normal area. Though a bulging disc is less severe, it can still cause problems and pain when the weak spot presses on the nerve.
The most common area for herniated and bulging discs is in the lumbar spine (lower back), which is the area between ribs and hips. This type of injury can impinge on the nerves and will cause increased pain in the back, with a radiating pain and numbness that can be felt in the arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet and toes. This radiating pain and numbness is called radiculopathy. Treatment for injuries to the back and neck range from physical therapy to epidural injections to surgery to fuse the bones together. For a large image of each injury, Click Here.
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Additional Neck and Back Injury Resources> Back Pain Flow Chart
> Neck Pain Flow Chart
> American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons - Spine and Neck Information
> Mayo Clinic - Herniated Disc Information
> Family Doctor - Herniated Disc Information
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