Disc Bulge

Do you suffer from a disc bulge?

A bulging disc is similar to a herniated disc. The difference is that bulging discs extend into the body’s spinal canal, without the rupturing of internal fibers. Your discs are like rings of a tree. In a herniated disc, the outer rings break, allowing the inner tissue (nucleus pulposus) to spill out into the canal. Think of a bulging disc like someone stepping on a water balloon filled with sand. The outer fibers are stretched, irritated, and the size and integrity of the discs are distorted as a whole. Disc bulges are common as we age, and are often due to the “wear and tear” we put our spines through over a lifetime. Some people can have disc bulges their entire lives without noticing it, and without pain. Yet, there are many people who suffer day in and day out from chronic pain due to bulging discs. The difference in symptoms often deals with the degree of disc bulge, the extent of nerve entrapment, the extent of blood vessel constriction, age, lifestyle factors, and daily activities. Disc damage can be complex, and it can be very helpful to have a qualified Chiropractic doctor assessing the damage. At our Chiropractic clinic, more than half of the patients we see are due to disc complaints.

Disc Bulge signs and symptoms: 

  • Achy, dull, and/or diffuse pain in spine or shoulders
  • Possible pain in the legs or feet (or arms)
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Relief with walking or general gentle movement
  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Greater pain when sitting or standing for long periods
  • Numbness and tingling sensations (seen with larger bulges)
  • Constant pain (either first thing in the morning, or gradually as the day goes)

Risk factors:

  • Repetitive Micro-trauma (constant bending over)
  • Previous acute and chronic back pain
  • Constant sitting leading to weak core muscles
  • Auto accidents
  • Age (wear and tear throughout our lifetime)
  • Direct injuries, falls, and trauma
  • Sports Injuries
  • Poor ergonomics and office jobs (slouching applies 2x greater forces onto the disc)

Our approach to disc bulge:

Those with disc bulges can often find great success with Chiropractic care. Conventionally, surgical intervention or pain pills are typically recommended. However, depending on the degree of the bulge, many, if not most of these cases do not need surgery. Chiropractic care is effective at removing the pain by improving the motion and biomechanics of the disc and spine. Our clinic recommends taking the LEAST invasive steps first before making life-altering surgical decisions. Our care center’s safe, non-surgical treatment of disc bulge includes:

  • Specific Chiropractic Adjustments (meant to improve fluid motion and restore proper biomechanics of the joint)
  • Manual & Mechanical Traction (meant to decompress the disc & nerves & improve hydration of the disc)
  • Active Release Technique (muscle “stripping” technique to reduce stress in the area)
  • At-home Decompression (we give tools to help compliment in-office traction and improve disc space)
  • Exercise Rehabilitation (strengthening the surrounding muscles)
  • Myofascial Release (other muscle stretching techniques)
  • Hot/Cold therapy

Our intensive care protocol is effective, non-invasive, and safe. However, if the desired results are not achieved, you still have the option to move to more invasive measures like surgery. Chiropractic care will only enhance the integrity of the disc, making it a wise choice to try first. All too often, we see patients who had surgery and it yielded only more painful results. This is not the case with everyone, but when we’re talking about your spine, the Chiropractic & Physical Therapy Center in Fairfax, VA believes in taking the most conservative steps first.

You don't have to live in pain. Schedule an appointment today!


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