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Athletic Training

Disc problems

04/22/2008

Question:

I had a CT Scan done on my lower back. But I have no back pain. I showed that I have a bulge disc. Can you tell me the differnece between a Herniated Disc and a Bulge Disc? Can a bulge disc turn into a herniated disc? Will bulge disc ever cause any trouble like pain?

Answer:

A bulging disc and herniated disc are commonly described in a similar manner, which is that the fluid part of the disc material which is located in the center of the disc starts to "bulge" towards the back side of the disc secondary to weakening in those fibers. It is not uncommon for patients with x-ray evidence of disc "bulge" to have no symptoms, but if the "bulge" progresses, symptoms may start to materialize because of pressure on sensitive structures.

Even though you are asymptomatic, it may be worthwhile to follow up with your local sports medicine professional for a thorough evaluation to determine if you should complete a rehabilitation program.

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Response by:

Janine   Oman, MS, PT/ATC Janine Oman, MS, PT/ATC
Assistant Athletic Director
Instructor at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University