If you have been diagnosed with a posterior bulging disc you might be wondering what the condition is, how it is treated and whether or not you will need surgery.

What is a bulging disc?

The spine is supported and cushioned by spinal discs located in between each of the vertebra. The natural aging process, degenerative spine conditions, injury or trauma can all damage these discs. A bulging disc occurs when the disc is compressed and bulges or protrudes out of its normal location and into the spinal column.

What is a posterior bulging disc?

A posterior bulging disc is a bulging disc that has bulged or protruded toward the back of the spinal column. This type of bulging disc is very common and can be caused by bending forward. Bending forward compresses the front, or anterior side of the disc, causing the disc to bulge toward the back, or posterior, side of the spine.

Where can you get a posterior bulging disc?

A posterior bulging disc can happen in any area of the spine. The different locations of a posterior bulging disc include:

  • Cervical posterior bulging disc. The cervical region of the spine is the neck area or top portion of the spine. A posterior bulging disc in the cervical region of the spine can cause pain and discomfort in the neck, upper back, shoulders, arms and hands.
  • Thoracic posterior bulging disc. The thoracic region of the spine is located in the middle of the back. A posterior bulging disc in the thoracic region of the spine can cause pain and discomfort in the middle back, ribs and abdomen.
  • Lumbar posterior bulging disc. The lumbar region of the spine is located in the lower back. A posterior bulging disc in the lumbar region of the spine can cause pain and discomfort in the lower back, hips, buttocks, legs and feet.

Depending on the location of your posterior bulging disc and the symptoms you are experiencing, your physician will be able to recommend conservative treatment options to control symptoms and relieve your pain.

Treatment for a posterior bulging disc

Treatment for a posterior bulging disc typically starts with a combination of conservative options including:

  • Rest
  • Heat and ice therapy
  • Exercise and stretching
  • Pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Lifestyle modifications

If after a few months of conservative treatment and your posterior bulging disc symptoms persist, your physician may recommend surgical treatment to provide you the relief you need.