You visit a doctor because there’s pain in your neck and/or lower back that’s starting to get unbearable. The doctor conducts a physical, and after finding nothing wrong, sends you for an MRI. The results come in and all the doctor can find is a little disc bulge, which shouldn’t be causing you a lot of pain. So why then, are you still in considerable agony?
When it comes to a strain or a sprain, ligaments, facet capsules, and intervertebral disc fibers can get torn. In the most benign scenario, a sprain causes the tearing of a few intervertebral disc fibers, which can cause a disc to simply bulge. Since the spine’s movement is based on the disc’s integrity with the disc’s nucleus as the main pivot point, once the nucleus of the disc is moved, the vertebra will start moving abnormally.
Unfortunately, when the body senses abnormal movement, mechanoreceptors turn off and nociceptors turn on, which often means that the person is going to feel pain. Even more unfortunate is the fact that, as indicated earlier, this is only the most benign scenario. In real life whenever a disc bulges, facet joints are also damaged, and that compounds the problem even further.
Now you know how there can be pain from a seemingly harmless disc bulge.