When you have pain in your back, it can be debilitating. Many people seek different treatments to deal with their pain. One of those treatments includes seeing a chiropractor. If you’ve just started dealing with the pain of a bulging disc, you may not be as familiar with it or the treatments that are available. Let’s take a look at what it is and how a chiropractor can treat a bulging disc.
What is a Bulging Disc?
A bulging disc occurs when a disc in your back swells through the spine or bulges out of its normal location. Bulging discs can be difficult to diagnose because patients don’t always feel pain at the source of the problem. Bulging discs can be especially painful when the disc presses against a nerve in the spine. They can occur anywhere along the spine from the neck down to the lower back. Bulging discs can also put pressure on nearby nerves leading to pain in those affected areas as well.
As you may know, your spinal column is comprised of stacked vertebral bones. In between the vertebrae, soft cartilage discs are there to cushion them as we move. Each disc has its own tough outer cartilage that is shaped to fit right between the vertebrae it’s meant to cushion. When a disc begins to bulge, it may start to lose their shape and protrude beyond it’s supposed to be.
Causes of a Bulging Disc
While bulging discs may have many different causes, it’s important to remember that they are rarely caused by an accident or trauma.
Here are several possible causes:
Wear and tear or age. The discs in our back can suffer from wear and tear. Over time our spinal discs lose some of their water content. This leads to them being less flexible and more prone to problems and can cause them to bulge.
Bad posture. If you sit, stand, or sleep the wrong way, it can put a strain on your neck and back. This can also lead to a bulging disc.
Carrying or lifting a heavy object. When you lift a heavy object, too much repeated pressure on your back can lead to a bulging disc.
Wearing shoes with no support. When you wear shoes that have no orthopedic support, you put yourself at risk of injuring your back and developing a bulging disc.
Being Overweight. Being overweight can put added strain on your back, leading to a bulging disc.
What are the symptoms of a bulging disc?
How do you know if you just have a backache or if it’s something more serious like a bulging disc? Many times people who are experiencing a bulging disc may have had the pain over an extended period of time and never realized what it is. Here are symptoms to look for:
- Pain or tingling in the neck, shoulders, arms or fingers
- Pain in the upper back that radiates to the chest or stomach
- Muscle spasms
- Shooting pain down only one side of the leg which can affect the sciatic nerve. In extreme cases, a bulging disc can affect bladder or bowel function and may lead to paralysis from the waist down. Any of these symptoms require emergency treatment.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms over time, call your doctor. They may order a CT scan or MRI to confirm a diagnosis. Other tests may be done to test reflexes. The doctor will also press on your spine to see if there is any tenderness.
To treat bulging discs, you need to treat the pain. This can include:
- Anti-inflammatory medicines. These can be over-the-counter or by prescription, depending on the pain level.
- Heat therapy. This can reduce muscle strain if muscles are affected. If it is a case of inflammation only, then cold therapy is the better course of treatment.
- Lifestyle changes. This can include losing weight or improving your posture to alleviate the pressure on your back.
- Exercise. Some mild forms of exercise may be recommended to help people regain mobility.
Can a chiropractor treat a bulging disc?
Chiropractic care is a natural, non-invasive treatment that helps many patients feel better. A chiropractor will look at your entire spine when you seek treatment. They will look to see if there are issues somewhere else in the spine that are adding stress to the strained disc.
Chiropractors often use adjustment methods to address joint restriction and dysfunction. This can help to relieve symptoms and help patients get moving again. They also know how to safely stretch the spine. This can help to move the disc off the nerve and relieve some of the pressure and pain from the nerve root and lower inflammation caused by the bulging disc.
Many people seek chiropractic care because it is a drug-free way to get rid of the pain. It can also help patients to avoid surgery which can lead to a long recovery period. Chiropractic care can be a positive way to relieve pain caused by a bulging disc.
Let A Family Chiropractic Clinic Treat Your Bulging Disc
At a Family Chiropractic Clinic, we can help treat your bulging disc. Our experienced team will assess your pain and develop the best treatment plan for you. Our chiropractors know that each patient’s pain is different and caused by a variety of circumstances. We will work with you to pinpoint your problem. There is a variety of services available to help you feel better.