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A posterior bulging disc, also known as a herniated disc, occurs when a spinal disc that sits between vertebrae begins to bulge due to compression. This condition can be painful and may end up limiting the mobility of the sufferer. A posterior bulging disc occurs at the back of the spine opposite the stomach, and it is often the result of forward bending. People who do a lot of heavy lifting are more likely to experience this type of condition, and treatments can vary depending on the severity of the injury.
In some cases, a person suffering from a posterior bulging disc may experience no symptoms at all and may not know the disc is bulging. The disc will repair itself in this situation and require no medical attention. More serious occurrences of a posterior bulging disc can also heal on their own given enough time and rest, though the most serious occurrences generally require medical attention in the form of physical therapy, spinal decompression, or even surgery. Surgery is usually a last resort for these injuries, as the process can be invasive and may not end up preventing occurrences of the bulging disc in the future. Nerve damage is another risk, since the disc is so close to the spinal cord and associated nerves.
The spinal disc is a soft membrane that is filled with a gel-like fluid. When the spine compresses or begins to operate in an abnormal way, this spinal disc can begin to press outward from the vertebrae that are essentially crushing it. This can lead to a disc rupture, which is a more serious condition that will need to be addressed surgically. A posterior bulging disc that has not ruptured can still lead to pain and limited mobility, especially if the disc begins to press on a nerve.
Doctors usually reserve surgery for posterior bulging disc injuries that lead to neurological issues. When the disc presses on a nerve, the part of the body that is serviced by that nerve can be affected. A person may experience pain, numbness, tingling, or even a loss of mobility. This is considered a more serious problem, especially if the patient loses mobility or feeling in the affected area. Surgery will be used to relieve pressure on the nerve, but the success rate of the surgery can vary. In some cases, patients may still experience neurological symptoms even after a successful surgery.