A bulging disc is a condition that occurs when the disc loses its original shape and bulges. Bulging disc exerts pressure on the nerve roots around it and causes severe pain. Discs are gel-filled pads that help cushion and protect the vertebrae in the spine. They act as shock absorbers and enhance movement and flexibility of the vertebrae. In some cases, spinal discs are likened to a jelly donut that has a soft central component. The soft central component on doughnut is likened to the nucleus pulposus .
When a bulging disc occurs, some parts of the tough outer wall can protrude into the spinal canal and press on a nerve, causing severe pain. The site of pain usually depends on which nerve is compressed by the disc. The pain may appear in the arm, leg, or other sites. It often occurs after an injury or accident. It is important to contact your doctor immediately if you experience this type of pain.