9 Secrets to Get Rid of Herniated and Bulging Disc No One Tells You
Low back pain. If you have it, you really want to find out how you can get rid of it now! Today! We can certainly understand why.
Low back pain is the #2 reason people go to the emergency room and the #1 reason for filing disability claims. Let’s face it, no matter what the root cause, back pain hurts, it interrupts your life, and it’s easy to become frustrated when it seems like you can’t do anything because your back hurts.
Why Is This Happening to Me?
While chronic back pain is usually age-related, it can happen to almost anyone at every age. Common causes for back pain include:
- Spinal Stenosis
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Bulging or Herniated Disc(s)
Perhaps one of the most common sources for low back pain comes from a herniated or bulging disc. Disc problems cause excruciating pain for most people, with pain so intense that they go immediately to the emergency room.
A herniated disc can even cause sciatica pain. When a bulging or herniated disc puts pressure or touches the sciatic nerve, many people feel intense pain that radiates from the lower back, down the buttocks, and then down the back of the leg, sometimes all the way to the foot.
The Difference Between a Herniated Disc and a Bulging Disc
While you might hear people refer to a “slipped disc”, this is not an accurate term since a disc cannot actually slip out of place. When most people talk about a slipped disc, they are referring to a herniated disc. Sometimes this is also called a ruptured disc.
Between the bones of the vertebrae of the spine are small cushions that are filled with a jelly-like substance. These cushions prevent bones from rubbing against one another and act like miniature shock absorbers.
As we age, these cushions become harder and less flexible. When too much pressure is put on the spine, these discs can bulge out from between the vertebrae, touching a nerve. The nerve reacts by sending pain signals to the brain. This is called a bulging disc.
If the pressure remains intense or if the bulging disc is damaged enough times, the outer layer of the disc can split, allowing some of the softer inside material to squeeze out. This also touches on a nerve and causes intense pain. When this happens, it is called a herniated disc. A full explanation is discussed here.
As you can imagine, a herniated disc usually causes much more intense pain since it is usually larger in scale and can have more of an impact on the nerve root. Visit our Anchorage clinic, Better Health Chiropractic, to get a proper diagnosis of your condition.
So How Can I Get Rid of Disc Pain and Disc Problems?
Glad you asked. The answer to this question will depend on how much pain your herniated disc is causing you and how far the disc has herniated into the area surrounding the spine.
No one wants to be in pain, but no one wants surgery either. The good news here is that most people don’t need surgery for a herniated disc, they just need to know the 9 little secrets for getting rid of disc pain.
9 Secrets for Getting Rid of Disc Pain and Problems
We know that you want to get rid of your disc pain and get your life back, so we will get right to the point and fill you in on how you can do exactly that.
Secret #1: Give Yourself Time
Unfortunately, too many people with back pain either don’t allow their bodies time to heal, or they begin a treatment plan, but stop once they begin to feel better.
It takes approximately 4 weeks for a bulging or herniated disc to heal itself, then another 12 weeks of chiropractic care and physical therapy for you to return to your usual daily activities and exercise program.
When you don’t follow through on a treatment plan, or you continue to do things that put more pressure on the affected disc, you not only make things worse, you risk herniating another disc. You also delay the healing process.
You can spend the first 48 hours in bed or on the sofa, icing the affected area. You will most likely feel like sleeping, which is good as this is necessary for healing to take place.
However, after that, you need to begin a treatment plan, which includes getting from your sofa.
Don’t go back to work until your chiropractor tells you that it’s OK. Don’t go back to your old way of doing things, since that is probably what injured your back to begin with. Lastly, don’t quit treatment the moment you are feeling better.
Allow your body the time it needs to heal from this injury or risk more of the same.
Secret#2: Listen to Your Mother
How many times did you hear your mother say, “Sit up straight!” or “Don’t slouch, you’ll ruin your back!”? We are betting she said this hundred of times and you know what? Mom really does know best. She was absolutely right.
Believe it or not, bad posture, whether just sitting or standing or lifting, places a huge load on your lumbar spine, which will aggravate a herniated disc.
While bad posture might not actually cause a disc to rupture, it certainly isn’t doing it any favors. The discs in our spines become harder and less flexible as we age. If a disc is already bulging, an incorrect posture will increase the severity of the problem.
If you are unsure about your posture, whether sitting, standing, lifting, or exercising, speak to your chiropractor. They can guide you and advise you on the best methods for improving your posture. Your mom will be proud.
Secret #3: Practice Yoga
Perhaps one of the best-kept secrets about healing a herniated disc and preventing a reoccurrence is to practice yoga.
While every pose is not going to be suitable for you while you are healing, many of the poses can help shift the weight on the spine, allowing the disc to return to its correct position.
Don’t attempt yoga poses if you have never done them before. You might injure yourself more. See a yoga teacher and be sure to tell them about your bulging or herniated disc so they can offer you the proper poses for healing and strengthening.
Some of the best yoga poses for those with disc problems are:
- Ardah Uttanasana
- Bharadvajasa (done sitting on a chair, not the floor)
- The Half Dog Pose
- Corpse Pose
- Mountain Pose
- Warrior II Pose
- Triangle Pose
- Child’s Pose
Secret #4: Healthy Lifestyle Changes
While most people try to eat healthily and get exercise, it doesn’t appear that most of us are doing a very good job of it.
Of course, one of the biggest problems come from our modern-day lives, where we sit too much, eat too much, and stress out too much.
How to help fix a slipped disc? Want to prevent it from happening again? We will need to make some lifestyle changes.
- Stop smoking
- Don’t drink to excess
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Get up and stretch or move around for at least a few minutes for every 30 minutes of sitting
- Eliminate as much stress as possible and learn ways to manage the stress you cannot avoid
- Get plenty of sleep (at least 7-9 hours most nights)
- Lose weight if you need to
- Eat a plant-based, anti-inflammatory diet
- Take anti-inflammatory supplements as directed by your chiropractor
- Get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 6 days per week
- See your chiropractor regularly for check-ups and advice on posture, lifting, and ergonomics
Secret #5: Attitude is Everything
At the risk of sounding like Pollyanna, we want to remind you that attitude counts a lot more than we imagine. A positive attitude has been shown in studies to influence a person’s recovery time, as well as their overall healing process.
There is no denying that a brain is a powerful tool and it can influence what happens in the body. Even if you have a chronic health problem, such as spinal stenosis, that has no cure, positive thinking can offer you a better quality of life.
Remind yourself that this is a temporary situation and that you and your chiropractor are doing everything possible to get you back on your feet as quickly as you are able. Imagine rays of healing white light going through your body. Be grateful for every little thing and look for the positive in everything.
It takes just as much energy to be negative as it does to be positive and with so much going for the positive side, why not look on the sunny side of the street? Seriously, what do you have to lose?
Secret #6: Chiropractic Care
How to heal a bulging disc naturally? With chiropractic care, of course! One of the best ways to stop the pain and heal a bulging or herniated disc is to see your local chiropractor. Not only can a chiropractor diagnose the root cause and find out if you have a herniated or bulging disc, but they can treat it as well.
After imaging, your chiropractor will set up a treatment plan that is designed for you and your exact needs. Since everyone is different, not everyone will be treated the same way.
More than likely, your chiropractor will perform a series of spinal adjustments, to realign the vertebrae and discs. This will prevent any further protrusion outside the spine. Then, depending on your needs, your chiropractor might also use other modalities including:
- Ultrasound- This device uses soundwaves to create heat that penetrates deep into tissues, relieving muscle spasms and stimulating healing.
- Heat and Ice Therapy. Alternating ice and heat to help reduce swelling and pain, as well as lower inflammation levels.
- Chiropractic Massage (see secret #7)
- Physical Therapy Modalities (see secret #8)
- Cold Laser Therapy. Sometimes called Low-Level Laser Therapy, this uses a very low light laser to improve circulation, promote rapid healing, and penetrates deep into tissues for added warmth. One meta-analysis of several studies found that those employing cold laser therapy had faster healing of damaged tissues.
- TENS Device. TENS is short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. This is a small, battery-operated device that delivers a small electrical current to the muscles to relieve pain by overstimulation of the nerves. When nerves are ultra-stimulated, they simply stop sending signals. This device offers hours of pain relief.
- Offer advice on anti-inflammatory supplements
- Offer advice on the ergonomics of your workstation
These are just a few of the things that your chiropractor can offer. You will get the quickest results, not to mention be out of pain much faster, by starting a treatment program with your chiropractor sooner, rather than later.
What can you do for herniated disc pain? See your local chiropractor sooner, rather than later!
We use the Alaska Back Pain Protocol method, which involves a three-step treatment plan that has proven itself to be successful for thousands of people with bulging or herniated discs!
While the majority of people with a herniated disc won’t need surgery, there are a few people for whom this will be necessary. Rest assured that if your chiropractor determines that you need treatment outside of the scope of his expertise, he will refer you to a qualified health care professional to continue your care.
Secret #7: Chiropractic Massage
You know how good a massage feels, right? Like a piece of heaven. If you are in pain because of a bulging or herniated disc, a massage might not sound so terrific, but the truth is that a chiropractic massage, which is done under the supervision of your chiropractor, might be just what the doctor ordered, so to speak.
Your chiropractor will direct the massage therapist to problem areas, which areas should be avoided, as well as offer advice as to what type of massage might work best for your condition. Massage will reduce painful muscle spasms while promoting healing through improved circulation.
Studies show that those with chronic low back pain is greatly reduced with regular massage.
Chiropractic massage can go a long way towards reducing pain while stimulating healing. This is a safe and effective treatment that offers substantial pain relief without drugs.
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Secret #8: Physical Therapy Modalities & Physical Rehabilitation
How to Heal a herniated disc with exercise? Get some physical therapy modalities when you visit your chiropractor. Discs tend to heal well with mild exercises, such as the type recommended by your therapist. These include walking, standing, and certain types of exercise, but not all types. If you want to know how to heal a herniated disc with exercise, you’ve come to the right place.
Certain exercises, such as walking, place the load on the back portion of the disc, which pushes the fluid and compounds inside forward. In other words, your physical therapist can show you which exercises will push your bulging disc back into its proper position.
You will need about 4-8 weeks of therapy to allow the disc to heal naturally. Doing the correct exercises and avoiding things like sitting for long periods, will allow the fluid to move away from the nerve and for scar tissues to form over the damaged areas.
Secret #9: Acupuncture or Epidurals
Almost no one likes the thought of needles, but for those with chronic health problems that lead to bulging or herniated discs, such as spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease, epidurals and acupuncture can be another means of controlling pain.
The majority of people can heal naturally with non-invasive treatments from their chiropractor, but when healing isn’t possible, other methods might need to be employed.
Epidural steroid injections to areas where herniated discs are causing intense pain can not only provide long-lasting pain relief, but they can also prevent or delay the need for surgery.
Acupuncture uses extremely thin needles to stimulate the body’s own painkillers, as well as promote healing and a sense of well -being.
Speak with your chiropractor about whether either of these options might work for you.
What NOT to Do When You Have a Bulging or Herniated Disc
It’s natural to want to look for ways to relieve pain and prevent a reoccurrence of a herniated or bulging disc, but there are some don’t that you should pay attention to as well, such as:
- DON’T put off a diagnosis or treatment plan. Complications can arise.
- DON’T jump right back into your regular activities when you start to feel better
- DON’T lie in bed all day. You only need about 48-72 hours of rest. After that, you must get up and get moving to prevent doing more damage to your spine
- DON’T lift anything heavier than what your chiropractor recommends (usually 5-10 pounds)
- DON’T do anything that will jerk your spines, such as amusement park rides or dancing
- DON’T wear high heeled shoes
- DON’T sit on very low types of furniture, such as beanbag chairs.
- DON’T do any activity or exercise that causes you to twist your back or do straight leg exercises, such as sit-ups with straight legs.
- DON’T go running until your chiropractor OK’s it. Walking is OK, running or jogging is not.
If this article has been helpful to you, please feel free to share it with others who might also benefit from the information.
If you have low back pain or believe you might have a herniated or bulging disc, or if you have suffered from sciatica, don’t hesitate to request an appointment for a same-day appointment. We will gladly check with your insurance for coverage and will work hard to restore you to a life full of excitement and activity. No one should live in pain. Please call us today.
What Does a Slipped Disc Feel Like?
A slipped disc or herniated disc usually causes immediate, intense pain. Some people describe it as an electric shock, followed by sharp pains in the lower back. Other descriptions include:
- Pain in the lower back and numbness down one leg
- Pain that gets worse if you try to sit or stand or stand up straight
- A sharp pain that gets worse when walking even a short distance
- Low back pain that prevents you from staying in any one position for more than a few minutes
- Muscle weakness in one or both legs
- A burning sensation in the lower back
Can a Bulging Disc Become a Herniated Disc?
Yes. If you ignore the pain of a bulging disc and continue doing the same activities that caused your bulging disc, you will continue to put pressure on that disc, which could rupture and become a herniated disc.
This is a very common occurrence. The risk of causing further damage to your bulging disc is very high if you fail to seek treatment quickly.
Can a Herniated Disc Heal on Its Own?
A herniated disc doesn’t actually heal on its own, but the pain does become less intense and can even go away entirely as the nerve becomes less irritated.
However, it will mean weeks and possibly even months of some fairly intense episodes of pain.
Your own immune response will treat the material that protrudes out of the disc as a foreign object and send an immediate response, usually inflammation, which is very painful. The water from inside the disc will be absorbed by the body and the disc will shrink in size.
Not only is this process lengthy, but it is painful as well. Chances are that you will never recover your full range of movement and your risk for developing another bulging or herniated disc is quite high since you did not take steps to prevent a reoccurrence.
How to Diagnose a Herniated Disc?
Your doctor or chiropractor will need to do a physical exam, followed by some questions about where and when the pain started.
Imaging tests will need to be taken to confirm if you have a bulging disc or a herniated disc. Common imaging could include an MRI, X-rays, or CT scans.
This combination of information will allow your chiropractor or doctor to make a diagnosis about the root cause of your low back pain.
Are There Complications with a Herniated Disc?
Unfortunately, if left untreated, a severely herniated or slipped disc can lead to permanent damage of the nerve. It can cut off the feeling aspect of the nerve, causing you to lose bowel or bladder control.
You could also suffer from a complication called “saddle anesthesia.” This means you would lose feeling in areas where a saddle would touch, such as your inner thighs, the bottom portion of your buttocks, the rectum, and the backs of your thighs.
This is why a diagnosis and treatment plan should begin right away.
What If I Have Degenerative Disc Disease?
If you suffer from a herniated or bulging disc due to degenerative disc disease, you might be wondering if there is help for you and your problem. How to cure degenerative disc disease naturally? Unfortunately, there is no cure for time and normal use, which is the cause of this disease.
You can, however, use all the secrets below, especially Secret #9, to help you manage your disease, find ways to relieve your pain, and learn how to avoid bulging or herniated discs as much as possible.
Schedule an Appointment, Receive a One-Hour Massage Certificate!
That’s right! Receive a certificate for a free one-hour massage with one of our highly-trained, professional, and licensed massage therapists for use after your first appointment. You can use it yourself, or give it to one of your family or friends for them to use!