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Nurse Susan
Nurse Susan, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1091
Experience:  RN, BSN, MSN-ED, Nurse Educator whose passion is helping people understand their health and wellness
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Can a bulging disc in your lower back cause your neck and shoulder

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Can a bulging disc in your lower back cause your neck and shoulder to hurt also?
Hello JACustomer,

I am sorry you are in pain and I hope I can help you here. Please understand though that no one online can state anything with certainty, all we can do is offer a best educated guess based on what you've written.

There are a few possibles here. Directly, they are not linked. But indirectly, one might be able to affect the other. The bulging disc in your back causes, I am sure, some back pain and stiffness; you hold yourself in postures and poses that may not be natural because your back aches and you wish to alleviate that pain.

However, those positions may place undue stress upon other areas of your back, like your neck and shoulder. It may cause some disc...not quite bulging...but pressure on nerves that affect the neck and the shoulder. If you shake your head from side to side like you were saying "no", and the pain increased when you looked extreme right or left, that is some more evidence that some nerve impingement may be happening in upper areas of your back and or neck.

Some have found physical therapy a good way to help stop the ache as it strengthens muscles around the area where the disc is bulging. I can not in good conscience recommend chiropractic to you as neck manipulations have been associated with strokes.

Heat may also help the pain of stiff muscles; for nerve pain, cold may work better.

I imagine you have seen a doctor as you have a diagnosis of a bulging disc, if he or she gave you muscle relaxers, take as prescribed. Motrin as indicated may help as well if there is no medical reason for you to avoid it.

I hope I was able to help, and I hope you feel better soon,
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