Hello I was wondering a couple different things. If I have a bulging disc in my C6-C7 level and a larger one in L2-L3 level that “doesn’t appear to be” touching a nerve, does this mean I shouldn’t be having pain from them? If there is bulging discs of the spine, with a grinding feeling, does that mean the discs are or can be moving around where sometimes I will have pain and sometimes it won’t be as bad? I am confused about bulging discs because just because it looks on the MRI that the disc bulges aren’t touching nerves does that mean there shouldn’t be any pain? Or do the bulging discs move around and touch the nerve while the body’s in motion more so than lying flat? This is the point I’m most confused about because if they dont appear to be touching a nerve on an MRI does that mean they never do while I’m up and around and that I should have no pain because its not reaching a nerve? I appreciate your help!!
Bulging discs are simply an indication of mild degenerative disc disease. The wall will bulge out if there is some weakness in this back wall of the disc-normally from an annular tear. There may be lower back or neck pain associated with this bulge but many patients have no symptoms from this disorder.
If the disc does not compress the nearby nerve root, it is highly unlikely that this bulge will cause any nerve pain (arm or leg pain). The “grinding feeling” is typically associated with degenerative changes in the facets. The “grinding feeling” will not originate from the disc.
Degenerative discs can cause back or neck pain as they contain nociceptors (pain fibers).