Four out of five people will experience lower back pain. One of the potential causes of persistent lower back pain is a herniated disc, also known as a bulging disc (see Reference 1).
Intervertebral discs are soft, round pads located in between each of the vertebrae in your spine. They cushion your vertebrae, acting as a shock absorber for your back. A bulging disc occurs when one of them slides out of place (see Reference 1).
Symptoms include sharp pain, usually in your lower back and on one side of your body in your hip, buttock or leg. The pain usually begins slowly and grows worse over time (see Reference 2).
You are at a higher risk of developing a bulging disc in your back as you grow older and your intervertebral discs shrink with age (see Reference 1).
A bulging disc can be caused by an injury or trauma to your back. This includes sudden strain or repetitive motions that damage the intervertebral disc (see Reference 1).
Treatment includes rest and physical therapy, pain management through medication and steroid injections in the back. If these fail to help, surgical options exist (see Reference 2).