It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’ve got back pain your first priority is to get rid of it. There are a lot of things that can cause back pain, anything from overused muscles and poor posture to herniated or bulging discs. But what exactly is a bulging disc anyway?

The term “bulging disc” sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? But it is actually quite common these days and there are some simple things you can do to improve the condition.

Here’s a basic anatomy lesson. Your spine is made up of 24 vertebrae each with a soft disc in between them to help your back bend and to cushion and absorb stress and pressure. When pressure is not distributed evenly on a disc it may be pushed in one direction or another. This force may cause the disc to bulge outward from the vertebrae. This is what a bulging disc is.

So what causes this kind of pressure that could result in a bulging disc?

Well, there are a lot of things. The short answer is that it is anything that puts the natural alignment of your spine out from where it is supposed to be.

The long answer is that it is probably from muscle imbalances of some sort. What is a muscle imbalance? Well, there are muscles in your body and every time you move an arm or a leg, for example, one muscle will contract while another muscle stretches. Ideally both muscles will contract and stretch with the same force to keep you balanced, but if they don’t, then there is a muscle imbalance.

When muscle imbalances happen in or around your back, then you are setting yourself up for back problems like a bulging disc.

A lot of things can result in muscle imbalances, such as sitting for long periods of time with poor posture, if you happen to work a desk job at an office. Or just poor posture in general.

Other small things like sitting with your wallet in your back pocket can throw your hips out of alignment and cause muscle imbalances.

Maybe you exercise regularly or play a sport of some kind. If you over train or exert yourself too much, you can cause imbalances as well.

Okay, so now you know what a bulging disc is and why you might get one, but what are the symptoms of a bulging disc?

Typically you will only notice a bulging disc when it bulges in a way that compresses a nerve in the spine. One of the most common places for a disc to bulge is in the lumbar region of the spine. Here the disc will likely compress the sciatic nerve.

Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower back, through your pelvis and hips, and down your legs all the way to your feet.

When the sciatic nerve is compressed, you will have a condition known as sciatica. Sciatica has many symptoms ranging from sharp stabbing pain, to a numb tingling feeling that may occur anywhere along the nerve--even in the feet. But most people I’ve talked to have said that they usually feel sciatica pain in the lower back or buttocks area.

Author's Bio: 

If you'd like to learn more about common bulging disc symptoms and how to treat them, be sure to check out my review of popular and effective back pain relief products.

Leroy Lombard used to suffer from sciatica brought on by Piriformis Syndrome. After studying the causes and cures for sciatic nerve pain and finding lasting relief himself, he enjoys sharing his knowledge with others.