Bulging discs in the neck are common in people without pain.
Would you be surprised to know that disc bulging is frequently observed in asymptomatic subjects, even including those in their 20s? That's what this study of over 1200 people found. This presents an interesting question. If we know we can find disc issues in normal healthy people, can we then take someone with pain in their neck and blame it on a disc bulge? Should we even bother with MRI's looking for them? I've seen patients with severe pain and normal MRI's and people with horrendous MRI findings who have very little pain. Because of that we make our decisions based on the clinical exams we do and the information we get from you when we do the initial evaluation. This almost always proves to be of more value helping us reduce your pain than a static image of your neck while you lay in a tube.A fovorite saying of mine is the "the clinical response never lies". Meaning, we monitor and make decisions on whether your feel less pain and if your motions improves, not if your MRI result would be any different.