What Causes a Bulging Disc?
Bulging or herniated discs often causes pain in the lower back and legs. The lower back is normally the site of disc herniation. 5 vertebrae, known as the lumbar vertebrae, make up the low back. Between each vertebrae, there is a fibrous pad with a firm outer rim known as the annulus fibrosis. Surrounding this is a central area filled with a gel-like substance called the nucleus pulposus.
The vertebrae surround the spinal cord, and nerves exit through small openings between the vertebral bodies. Degenerative changes occur as we age and the outer rim of the protective disc may rupture, allowing the inner gel to escape. Chemical changes cause the discs to weaken. The disc may protrude into the spinal canal or may impinge on the spinal nerve. The end stage of this process occurs when the central gel of the nucleus pulposus breaks through the disc.
The disc can impinge upon the exiting spinal nerves, and this is the cause of pain associated with a herniated disc or a pinched nerve. Since the nerves that leave the lower part of the spinal cord travel to the lower body to provide motor and sensory function, a herniated disc can result in pain or numbness in those regions, weakness of the lower extremities, and can also result in problems with urination or bowel control.
If you are suffering from back pain radiating to your buttocks or legs, weakness in your extremities, numbness or problems with bowel or bladder control, you should see a physician immediately. The sooner you begin treatment, the better your chances will be for successful conservative therapy. Your physician will also advise you on some of the risk factors for continued problems with your lumbar spine, including excess weight and poor posture.
Treatments for Bulging Disc:
Since a bulging disc is not a chronic issue, or shouldn’t be, we use regenerative medicine to heal. The restorative properties within stem cells and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) boost natural regeneration. This natural process is often why patient’s opt for regenerative medicine over surgery.
Both stem cell injection (bone marrow concentrate) and PRP utilize the patient’s blood for recovery. This makes the treatment highly efficient and virtually risk free. The process consists of a doctor removing a vial of blood from the hip or arm. Following this, we centrifuge the blood until its contents separate. The doctor injects the stem cell or platelet-rich blood into the site of injury – flooding the area with regenerative properties.