Bulging Disc in Hollywood & Miami FL

Bulging Disc

Serving the South Florida area with locations in Hollywood and Miami, FL

Dr. Andreas C. Tomac, MD, PhD, FAANS is a distinguished neurosurgeon specializing in diagnosing and treating a bulging disc.

What is a bulging disc?

A bulging disc, also known as a disc protrusion or disc bulge, is a condition that involves the intervertebral discs of the spine. These discs act as cushions between the vertebrae, providing support and flexibility to the spine. A bulging disc occurs when the outer layer of the disc, known as the annulus fibrosus, weakens or deteriorates, causing the disc to extend beyond its normal boundaries.

Who can a bulging disc affect?

A bulging disc can affect individuals of all ages, causing discomfort and limitations in daily activities. This spinal condition occurs when a disc extends beyond its normal boundary due to factors like age-related changes, physically demanding occupations, or improper lifting techniques. Symptoms include back pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. Timely medical attention and preventive measures, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle and proper body mechanics, are crucial for effective management.

What are the symptoms of a bulging disc?

The symptoms of a bulging disc vary but often include localized or radiating back pain, numbness, tingling sensations, and weakness in the affected area. A bulging disc can exert pressure on nearby nerves, leading to discomfort or dysfunction in specific regions of the body. The severity and specific symptoms depend on the location of the affected disc along the spine. Individuals may experience pain that extends into the arms or legs, and in some cases, there might be associated muscle spasms. 

Treating a bulging disc

Bulging Disc in Hollywood & Miami FL

How is a bulging disc diagnosed?

The diagnosis of a bulging disc involves a comprehensive assessment by neurosurgeon Dr. Tomac and his team.

  • Medical History:
    • Dr. Tomac will gather a detailed medical history, including information about the onset, duration, and characteristics of the symptoms. Any relevant factors such as trauma, lifestyle, and family history will be considered.
  • Physical Examination:
    • A physical examination will be conducted to assess the patient’s range of motion, reflexes, muscle strength, and any signs of neurological involvement. Dr. Tomac may perform specific tests to identify the source of symptoms.
  • Imaging Studies:
    • Imaging tests such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Computed Tomography (CT) scans may be ordered. These tests provide detailed images of the spine, allowing visualization of the discs and identification of abnormalities, including a bulging disc.
  • Discography:
    • In some cases, discography may be recommended. This involves injecting a contrast dye into the affected disc to assess its structure and identify areas of leakage, helping to pinpoint the location of issues like a bulging disc.
  • Nerve Conduction Studies (Electromyography – EMG):
    • These studies may be conducted to assess nerve function and identify areas of nerve compression or damage.
Bulging Disc in Hollywood & Miami FL

What are the treatment options for a bulging disc?

The treatment options for a bulging disc depend on the severity of symptoms and the individual’s overall health. A neurosurgeon like Dr. Tomac can provide expertise in both non-surgical and surgical interventions. Here are common treatment approaches:

  • Conservative Treatments:
    • Medications: Pain relievers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and muscle relaxants may be prescribed to manage pain and inflammation.
    • Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises to strengthen core muscles, improve flexibility, and correct posture.
    • Heat/Ice Therapy: Application of heat or cold packs to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
    • Activity Modification: Adjustments to daily activities to avoid exacerbating symptoms.
  • Interventional Procedures:
    • Epidural Steroid Injections: Injections into the epidural space to deliver anti-inflammatory medication and reduce pain and inflammation.
    • Nerve Blocks: Injection of anesthetic agents to block pain signals from specific nerves.
  • Surgical Options:
    • Discectomy: Surgical removal of the herniated or bulging portion of the disc to relieve pressure on nerves.
    • Spinal Fusion: Joining two or more vertebrae to stabilize the spine, often performed when there is instability.
    • Artificial Disc Replacement: Replacement of a damaged disc with an artificial one to maintain spinal mobility.