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Bulging Disc in the Neck — What You Need to Know

Deuk Spine Web Team
An expert in all things spine, Dr. Deukmedjain is a board certified neurosurgeon who has performed thousands of minimally invasive surgeries and procedures including the revolutionary Deuk Laser Disc Repair and the Deuk Spinal Fusion. 

When a spinal disc weakens and encroaches on the spinal cord, a bulging disc in the neck results. This may occasionally result in pain in the back, shoulders, arms, and neck. A bulging disc in the neck may result from acute damage to the region.


If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms outlined in this article, it’s time to get a FREE Consultation and MRI Review with Deuk Spine Institute. We will help relieve your pain and get you back to living your life without limitations!


A bulging disc in the neck can also be brought on by long-term stress, such as bad posture or being overweight. Age can increase the likelihood of a bulging disc in the neck because these spinal components have a tendency to deteriorate with time. Certain stretches and exercises can relieve pressure on the spine and lessen discomfort. This can be done at home or with the assistance of a physical therapist.

The use of painkillers can also help to ease discomfort. Surgery is another possibility, though, if these therapies are ineffective. The causes, symptoms, and exercises for a bulging disc in the neck will all be covered in this article.

Causes of a Bulging Disc in the Neck

A bulge in the neck might result from a weak spinal disc. The spine is composed of several linked bones. These are vertebrae, which guard the spinal cord, the soft tissues, and the nerves that pass through the spine.

Each vertebra is separated by a connective disc, which keeps them flexible. Strong elastic tissues make up these spinal discs. The spinal discs enlarge or contract as the spine bends or rotates to support the motion and prevent bone-on-bone contact.

Dislodged spinal discs are a possibility. Lower back pain is most typical in this region.

It can, however, also happen in the upper back, where it might result in a protrusion into the spinal canal. It may result in a herniated disc in more severe circumstances.

The disc is described as herniated and bulging. Some people liken a herniated disc to a tire blowout, while others liken a bulging disc to a tire that is going flat. Each disc has an exterior layer that surrounds a soft interior material that keeps the disc’s structure intact.

When the outer layer of the disc is damaged, the inside material leaks out, resulting in a herniated disc. Trauma that occurs suddenly or over time is one of the causes of bulging or herniated discs. Poor posture and using inappropriate forms when lifting weights are two things that can lead to long-term harm.

Additional root causes include:

  • gaining weight
  • having matured
  • being inactive
  • having a disc condition in the spine

Over time, spinal discs deteriorate and become more prone to damage. This indicates that developing a bulging or herniated disc becomes more likely with age. According to what starts to deteriorate first.

A disc may function normally if the nucleus pulposus, or the inner soft tissue, starts to deteriorate first. However, if the inner nucleus pulposus escapes into the vertebral canal and presses on a nerve root or the spinal cord, this could happen if the outer supporting layer, the annulus fibrosus, begins to degenerate first.

Symptoms of Disc Bulging in the Neck

A bulging disc can develop even when there are no symptoms. In some instances, though, the disc puts pressure on a neck nerve. This may lead to:

  • back, shoulder, and neck discomfort
  • moving causes discomfort
  • tingling or numbness in the fingers, shoulders, or arms
  • a constrained range of motion

The degree of pressure on the nerve will determine how severe the symptoms are. Often, the symptoms get worse while exercising and get better while relaxing.

Exercises for a Bulging Disc

A neck disc bulge may be treated with gentle stretches. Doctors may recommend certain workouts along with painkillers and other pain treatment methods. These can be practiced either at home or with a physical therapist. Gentle stretches and muscle-strengthening exercises are frequently included in exercises for a bulging neck disc. The neck can be stretched to help reduce tension and soreness there. The head is typically slowly moved backward, forward, or side to side when performing neck stretches.

A longer-lasting way to relieve pressure on the neck is by performing activities that strengthen the neck muscles. It might also aid in building up other spinal-supporting muscles, such the abs. Additionally, a physical therapist will assist in enhancing walking and lifting forms. This can entail making sure the back is upright when bending the knees to pick something up from the floor. By doing this, the likelihood of suffering another injury in the future will be decreased.

Other Available Forms of Therapy

It could be preferable to combine physical therapy and exercises with other types of treatment. This might help with recovery. It might also be beneficial to use certain painkillers to ease discomfort in the neck, shoulders, arms, and back. Typically, these are over-the-counter pharmaceuticals such as analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory meds.

Treatment for more severe conditions may entail getting steroidal injections to lessen pain and inflammation. Cervical spine surgery may be required in the most severe situations. This will need to take out all or a portion of the disc. To aid in stabilizing the spine following surgery, a cervical plate or screen may need to be inserted.

Example Causes of a Bulging Disc

Spinal discs take a lot of punishment. They begin to deteriorate and degenerate over time.

The most frequent cause of bulging discs, which frequently leads to spinal osteoarthritis, is degenerative disc disease. Other elements that may contribute to or induce bulging discs include:

  • A burden, strain, or injury
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Faulty or incorrect posture
  • Inactive lifestyle

Care for Spinal Muscular Atrophy

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How are disc bulges identified?

Your doctor will perform a physical examination if you are experiencing discomfort that could be caused by a bulging or herniated disc. Additionally, you might undergo one or more imaging tests. These include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, computed tomography (CAT) scans, and spinal X-rays. An electromyogram (EMG) to assess the health of the afflicted nerves may be advised by your doctor.

Alternative Therapies

Fortunately, a bulging disc can be treated in a number of different ways.

  • Nonoperative management is another name for conservative treatment. It frequently suffices to mend a bulging cervical disc and comprises both rest and treatment.
  • The first-line prescription treatments for a bulging disc are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. Your doctor might suggest a muscle relaxant or narcotic painkiller for more intense pain.
  • Pressure on the nerve may be relieved by physical therapy (PT).
  • Home traction equipment helps relieve the nerve’s stress.
  • Longer-lasting treatment may be obtained with cortisone injections (also known as epidural steroid injections, or ESI) into the spine.
  • A cervical herniation is treated surgically using several techniques. Only 10% of people with bulging discs ultimately need surgery, though.


When a spinal disc moves out of place, it can result in a bulging disc in the neck. This can result in a herniated disc, in which the interior material of the disc leaks out due to injury. Neck pain can be a symptom of either illness. A bulging disc in the neck can be treated with physical therapy and exercises. In order to strengthen the neck and the muscles around it, a combination of moderate neck stretches and exercises will be used. There are a variety of further treatments available, including surgery and painkillers.


The Deuk Spine Institute encourages and welcomes you to contact us today regarding any questions or concerns you may have regarding your current situation. 

​​If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the preceding symptoms outlined, it is imperative to get a FREE Consultation and MRI Review with the Deuk Spine Institute. We can help relieve your pain and get you back to living your life without limitations!


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