Bulging and Herniated Discs

Age related wear and tear can lead to very serious conditions like disc bulging or herniation. At Pain and Spine we specialize in these conditions with innovative and minimally invasive treatments options that can significantly reduce your pain.

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Bulging and Herniated Disc Specialists

It is normal for a disc to bulge or become herniated as you age. Many people do not experience pain, but for some it can be very painful. Degenerative Disc Disease and Trauma are often the causes of Bulging and Herniated Discs.

At Pain and Spine Specialists, our doctors will thoroughly evaluate your bulging and herniated disc pain symptoms in order to accurately diagnose the cause. Once we have an accurate diagnosis, we will create an individualized treatment plan that comprehensively addresses your pain symptoms.

If you believe you are suffering from a bulging and herniated disc, then the first step is to schedule a consultation with our herniated and bulging disc support professionals. You can reach us by phone here or you can submit a contact form.

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Patient Testimonials


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I LOVE LOVE LOVE this office. I was helping my mom find a place for her arthritis pain, and I explained to them how bad it was. They were able to schedule me the same week! That's almost impossible at any doctor's office...and then add COVID..... I was thrilled. I took my mom, and everyone was absolutely so sweet and kind

- Donyasha B.

Dr. Rao. I can't find the words to tell you how much he has meant to me. I followed him from an old practice to his very new high tech office. They offer so many different areas of assistance to those with issues from nutrition to spinal surgery...and much more. His office is professional.

- Mom To2

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Dr. Roa is such an amazing doctor! During my first visit he never tried to rush through my appt., he genuinely listened to all my concerns and then took his time to explain to me in detail all his recommendations and how they would help me.

- Nikki Walker

In the 3 years as a patient of Dr. Rao, it is my opinion that he is a phenomenal and extraordinary doctor. He keeps up to date with the latest treatment options, will sacrifice time no matter how many are in the waiting room to listen and explain. Dr. Rao has treated multiple patients with rare illnesses, and shows more empathy than any Dr. I’ve met.

- Mom To2

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I have now been with Dr. Rao for 13 years. He is the most caring Doctor I have ever been to! Dr. Rao makes you feel very comfortable at all times. I would not want to go to any other Doctor... I go to the Hagerstown location, everyone is very nice

- Theresa R.

The entire staff from the folks at the front desk to the Nurse, to the Physicians Assistant to the scribe that records the visit for the doctor - (great idea so the Doctor can focus on the patient!!!)

- NVA F.

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Completely the best care you could want the staff is so pleasant and caring and the doctors have true heart for healing, love being a patient here would give 10 stars if I could & absolutely the most caring during my procedure with Dr B

- Cathern C.

Always friendly, courteous, and efficient service. From the ladies, who work the front desk, to the nurses and the doctors. I've always had a good experience with the Harrisonburg office in Virginia.

Krystal Shaffer

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They scheduled my appointment very quickly so that I can get to help that I needed immediately instead of like most places having to wait two to three weeks to get in I called and was able to be seen the next day

- John H.

After transitioning from a pain and spine doctor in Columbia, MD.. The intake staff member at Pain and Spine Specialist made the scheduling a breeze. They were able to get me in within a week.

Rashawn JJ

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A comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about our providers, locations, conditions we treat, treatments we offer, and many other frequently asked questions!

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Bulging And Herniated Discs Overview

The spinal column is made up of 26 bones (your vertebrae) and 23 discs. Your discs are the cushions between the vertebrates, all along your spinal column. Your discs act as ‘shock absorbers’ that allow for comfortable bending, twisting and flexing.

  • Disc bulging occurs when the disc extends outside its normal space. Disc bulging is usually considered a normal part of aging. The severity of this condition depends on whether the disc is bulging into the spinal canal or not. If it is, it causes the spinal canal to narrow, causing pain. Bulging discs are more common than herniated discs. Wear and tear of the disks happens over time, as people age. Discs are covered with a tough layer of cartilage and contain a softer cartilage in the middle. The soft, inner lay of cartilage can decrease with age and this causes the disc to become compressed and push out. In these types of cases, the bulging disc can touch on a nerve and trigger pain. Bulging discs typically happen at the bottom of the lumbar spine and can also increase the chances of a herniated disc occurring.  
  • Herniated discs are often referred to as slipped discs or ruptured discs. A disc herniation is when the ‘inner jelly-like substance’ pushes out of the disc because of tears or defects in the outer cartilage layer. This puts pressure on the spinal nerves, causing pain. Herniated discs are fairly common and can develop anywhere along the spine, although it is seen more in the lower back or in the neck. Herniated discs themselves are not very noticeable and many people have no idea they have one until they have imaging done for another reason. The issues start when the slipped disc compresses the nerve and causes pain. When this happens there can be a loss of mobility, which affects a person’s daily life and how they are able to go about completing regular daily activities. 

Causes of Bulging And Herniated Discs 

Discs can bulge or become herniated as part of the normal aging process and daily wear and tear. However, most people do not experience intense pain as a result. If you do begin to experience the chronic pain associated with bulging and herniated discs, reach out to a medical professional today. 

As a person ages the disk naturally starts to harden and lose fluid volume, which is known as degenerative disc disease. This causes the disc to weaken and cracks potentially form in the outer layer, where the inner gel-like substance can rupture through. As the disc continues to degenerate even a simple twisting motion can make the disc rupture. Herniated discs most often occur in people in their 30’s and 40’s, with middle to older age people having a higher risk if they are involved in heavy physical activity.  

Trauma is another way that bulging or ruptured discs form. Excessive strain or a single injury can cause a slipped disc. Those who participate in rigorous exercise routines, such as weight lifting, can easily hurt themselves to where a herniated disc will occur. People who work a physically demanding job should be sure to lift heavy objects correctly to protect their back from injury. 

Research has shown that your chances of herniated discs go up if other members of your family have a history of them, suggesting there is a predisposition for them.


Symptoms of Bulging And Herniated Discs

A herniated disc is more likely to cause pain than a bulging disc, as it usually sticks out further and has more of a chance of irritating nerve roots.  

Symptoms can vary depending on the location and size of the herniation and may only lead to some slight pain in the lower back. If the bulging or herniated disc is pressing on a nerve then it may also cause numbness along the nerve or weakening of the area along the nerve. There can be a tingling or burning feeling that radiates to the neck, arms, hands, back, legs, and feet. Muscle spasms or cramping can also be symptoms of disc problems. 

Sciatica can develop due to the nerve compression of a bulging or slipped disk. Sciatica is pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which is a nerve that stems from the lower back and runs down both legs. 

In some rare, but extreme cases you may also lose bladder or bowel control. If you experience this then you need to seek immediate medical attention. 


Diagnosis of Bulging And Herniated Discs

Our physicians are board-certified, and are dedicated to giving you a comprehensive exam that will aid in diagnosing the cause of your symptoms. Using advanced diagnostic techniques, our doctors will find out the reason for your pain, and then get you on the road to better health right away. Here are a few steps our physicians use when completing their comprehensive exams: 

  • We take your complete medical history to identify or rule out possible causes of your pain.
  • We conduct a thorough physical exam
  • We carefully review your symptoms, including how you would describe the pain (burning, achy, dull, etc.) and whether certain positions or activities make the pain feel better or worse
  • We may order diagnostic tests, including MRI, CT scan or discogram, to help us diagnose your chronic pain

Treatments For Bulging And Herniated Discs

There are a variety of bulging and herniated disc support and treatment options available, including spinal cord stimulation treatment, intrathecal pumps treatment, radiofrequency ablation treatment, and many more.

  • Spinal Cord Stimulation Treatment: This is a procedure that delivers small electrical signals to the spinal cord through the nerves, to mask the pain signals. A spinal cord stimulator may be an option when other traditional pain management options have not worked. 
  • Intrathecal Pumps Treatment: A small device that administers medication directly into the spinal canal. By delivering small doses this way, it can minimize the effects of taking larger doses orally. 
  • Radiofrequency Ablation Treatment: RFA is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat to minimize and stop pain signals from moving throughout the body. Nerve endings that cause pain are “burned” so the pain signals are not sent to the brain. 
  • Trigger point injection Treatment: TPI is a procedure used to treat areas where spasms and inflammation occur in the skeletal muscle. A trigger point injection is delivered directly to the trigger point in the body. 
  • Epidural Steroid Injection Treatment: ESIs deliver anesthetic and steroid medication directly to the epidural space in the back. Epidural steroid injections numb the inflamed nerves and prevent pain signals from being sent to the brain. 
  • Medication Management: Managing medication is a critical aspect of treating chronic pain. Medication management is provided by the pain management specialists monitoring your care to ensure that you are on the right medications, at the appropriate dosage. 

Give Pain & Spine Specialists a call today to learn more about everything we have to offer and to schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians.

Bulging and Herniated Disc Specialists

At Pain and Spine Specialists, our spine specialists are committed to giving you the most effective treatment when treating your pain. We believe that all patients should have access to exceptional care. 

Our Providers

At Pain and Spine Specialists, our team of physicians and nurse practitioners are committed to giving you the most effective treatment when treating your pain. We believe that all patients should have access to quality care, and that is why you can find us conveniently located throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

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Our Providers

At Pain and Spine Specialists, our team of physicians and nurse practitioners are committed to giving you the most effective treatment when treating your pain. We believe that all patients should have access to quality care, and that is why you can find us conveniently located throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

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At Pain and Spine Specialists we are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to our patients.We provide tailored services with each individuals comfort in mind. Select an option below:

Please note: We accept Workers Compensation Insurance and Personal Injury Patients 

Please note: We accept Workers Compensation Insurance and Personal Injury Patients 


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