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One common type of spinal disorder is a bulging disc. Discs are small, rubbery cushions that act as spinal shock absorbers and help to maintain spinal flexibility. When the discs become damaged, they may bulge and cause pain or a “pins and needles” feeling. Disc conditions may occur at the neck, mid-back or lower back, with the most common occurring in the lower back.
The general population often confuses bulging discs and herniated discs, in part because both conditions involve a protrusion from a disc. A herniated disc describes a condition where a disc has been cracked and the gel inside is forced out through the opening, causing a protrusion. A bulging disc, which is more common, occurs when the hard, outer layer of cartilage extends outside of the space that it should normally occupy.