Patients diagnosed with a bulging disc often recognize pain as their most common symptom. Because pain is the most well-known symptom, people who experience a tingling sensation from a bulging disc may not acknowledge it as a symptom of this condition. This lack of recognition could cause a bulging disc to go undetected for a while, making the condition worse and treatment options more limited.

By understanding why a tingling sensation from a bulging disc occurs and what that symptom entails, you may be able to recognize this condition sooner and work with your doctor to treat it before the pain and symptoms worsen.

How does a tingling sensation from a bulging disc occur?

One of the most common misconceptions about a bulging disc is that it causes pain and symptoms. While there are often pain and symptoms associated with a bulging disc, the disc itself does not cause pain.

The pain and symptoms of a bulging disc develop when the damaged disc presses against one of the nerves near the spine or the spinal cord itself. These spinal nerves are responsible for sending muscle and pain signals to the brain and other areas of the body. For this reason, symptoms of pain and a burning or tingling sensation from a bulging disc may begin in the spine and travel to the arm or leg, depending of the severity of the nerve compression.

Other symptoms of a bulging disc may include:

  • Pain
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Burning sensation
  • Limited mobility

If you experience a tingling sensation from a bulging disc or any other symptoms — and the pain lasts longer than a week or so — you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine the best course of treatment.

Treatment for a bulging disc

For many patients, conservative treatment will be the first option recommended for a bulging disc. Many doctors will create a nonsurgical treatment plan that may include a combination of the following conservative options:

  • Intermittent rest
  • Pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Weight loss and other lifestyle changes
  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage therapy
  • Yoga and stretching
  • Corticosteroid injections

These treatments often provide symptom relief while the disc begins the healing process, which may take up to several months. If after this time you are still experiencing chronic pain and symptoms, your doctor may recommend spine surgery.

There are two main types of spine surgery available to treat a bulging disc: traditional open neck or back surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery. While traditional spine surgery has been around longer, minimally invasive surgery is a safer and more effective alternative for many patients. Talk to your doctor about your options so you can make a confident decision about your spine care needs.