And the most difficult part of dealing with a disc bulge is the pain that goes along with it. It can make simple things like getting out of a car or putting your socks on nearly impossible. The good news is our doctors can help eliminate pain from a bulging disc quickly, and often permanently, using a combination of Chiropractic care and Active Release Techniques.
This approach can also help improve flexibility and ranges of motion, making sleeping and sitting more comfortable while your body has a chance to heal. Most patients start to feel relief after just their first visit.
The bones of the spine (vertebrae) are separated by round discs that sit between each of the bones. The discs are similar to jelly donuts: they have a tough covering on the outside and a soft jelly-like material on the inside. The discs act as shock absorbers or cushions between the bones of the spine, and help to keep the spine flexible.
A bulge occurs when the material on the inside of the disc starts to push through that tough outer covering, putting pressure on spinal nerves and causing pain and other symptoms. Disc bulges usually occur in the lower back, but can occur in the neck with a whiplash injury or neck strain.
They typically result from a combination of aging and wear and tear on the spine. As you get older, the discs start to lose their elasticity and the tough outer covering can become weak. The material on the inside of the disc eventually starts to push through that weakened area leading to a bulge. If the spine is placed under enough stress, that inner material can actually push right through the outer covering causing a disc herniation.
Activities such as bending, lifting, twisting, exercise and physical labor can all place enough stress on the spine to cause an injury to a disc.
Pain typically occurs at the point where the disc bulge is pressing on spinal nerves. In the neck, a bulging disc can cause pain, numbness and tingling to radiate into the upper back, shoulders, arms and hands. In the lower back, numbness, tingling and pain can radiate to the buttocks, legs and feet, a set of symptoms referred to as sciatica.
Symptoms are usually worse with activity and better with rest, although it may be difficult to find any position that takes pain away completely. Sitting, bending, twisting, and even sneezing or coughing can cause a significant increase in pain since they place more pressure on the nerve.
In most cases, Chiropractic can reduce pressure on the nerves by improving spinal motion and flexibility, while Active Release can help decrease pain and muscle spasm in the affected area. This means a quicker return to activity without the risks of surgery or the mind-numbing effect of drugs.
Chiropractors are well trained in treating bulging discs and often work with other doctors or specialists to make sure you get the care you need to get better quickly – like our physical therapists on staff. And although some disc conditions may require surgery, most cases respond very well to conservative treatment.
If you have a bulged or slipped disc, chances are our doctors can help. Just call or click to schedule an appointment. We’ll discuss your injury or condition and create a strategy to help you get back on track fast.