What Does a Chiropractor Do for a Bulging Disc?

    Chiropractic care is one of the best and preferred treatment methods for those with bulging discs. Chiropractic is holistic in nature, non-invasive, and uses drug-free therapies to stimulate healing.

    Once your chiropractor has determined that you have a bulging disc, they will focus on gentle, low force adjustments which increase the space in between the vertebrae and allow the bulging disc to return to its normal position.

    Depending on your condition and what the chiropractor finds, they might also include a non-surgical traction device to add some space in between the vertebrae, have a therapist perform a chiropractic massage to reduce pain and improve blood circulation, as well as provide rehabilitation exercises to restore flexibility and increase strength.

    If your situation calls for it, the chiropractor might also use modalities to speed healing, including cold laser, ultrasound, or an electrical stimulation device called a TENS unit.

    When to See a Chiropractor for a Bulging Disc?

    Bulging discs are intensely painful. Left untreated, they can continue to be damaged and lead to a herniated disc. When should you see a chiropractor for a bulging disc? As soon as you possibly can!

    Can a chiropractor help a bulging disc? Actually, chiropractic care is so effective that it is the preferred treatment for those with bulging discs. While most people think of chiropractic treatment as being only for a bulging lumbar disc, chiropractic care for a bulging disc in the neck is every bit as effective.

    Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. As we mentioned before, a bulging disc can quickly become a herniated disc. While a bulging disc can return to its normal position in between the vertebrae, a herniated disc cannot.

    If you are feeling any type of pain, whether it’s a sudden, sharp pain, a burning, lingering pain, or even a continual ache that crops up every time you engage in certain activities, seeing a chiropractor can prevent that bulging disc from becoming more severe. Make an appointment as soon as possible to determine the source of your pain.

    How Does Better Health Chiropractic in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Juneau  Treat Bulging Discs?

    This will depend on your unique circumstances. Someone who has developed a bulging disc due to disc degeneration or osteoporosis will require a different treatment method than someone who acquired one from long hours at a desk job then playing an intense sports game with their kids.

    In general, Better Health’s chiropractic treatment for a bulging lumbar disc will involve the Alaska Back Pain Protocol system. This is a unique treatment plan designed specifically for those with back pain due to bulging discs. It will involve a chiropractic adjustment for the bulging disc, as well as other treatment methods, including chiropractic massage, a DRS, and other modalities.

    This method is designed to offer quick pain relief and speed you along on the road to faster healing. Chiropractic care for a bulging disc in the neck will also vary, but generally includes very light touch adjustments, rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the neck muscles, and very gentle massages to improve circulation.

    What Is a Bulging Disc?

    The word bulging is great, describing the way a weakened or deteriorated disc can move out of optimal positioning (some movement is perfectly natural). Another common term is protruding disc. For some, it happens suddenly as a result of trauma, but typically the process takes a while to go from a contained bulging disc into a herniated disc which can lead to serious pain or lasting conditions. Herniation means the disc’s inner liquid-nucleus leaks through the compromised shell.

    What Are the Symptoms of Bulging Disc?

    A bulging disc itself may not cause any pain or discomfort (especially when located in the thoracic spine), so they’re hard to spot for people who aren’t seeing a chiropractor, physical therapist, or massage therapist. Once the bulging disc starts causing trouble, that’s when symptoms begin to show including pain or tingling in the neck, shoulders, and extremities, radiating pain, and muscle spasms in the lumbar region, etc. Symptoms can depend on disc location. For example, if it leads to a herniation/rupture that puts pressure on your sciatic nerve then sciatica can be a resulting symptom.

    How bad is your Low Back Pain? Take the Low Back Pain Disability Index!

    Please mark in each section only ONE box which applies MOST to you. This questionnaire has been designed to give the doctor information as to how your low back pain has affected your ability to manage in everyday life.

    How bad is your pain? Take our quizzes below and find out!

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    What Causes a Bulging Disc?

    A large variety of things can lead to a weakened, bulging, or protruding disc. For many, it’s the general wear and tear of life and time – osteoporosis. This includes long-term poor posture habits. Then, of course, there’s degenerative disc disease, injuries, and the impact of repetitive daily tasks (made worse with bad posture). Another risk factor is obesity, putting excess pressure on load-bearing discs. Shoes with poor support are also a risk factor for runners and people on their feet in them all day.

    What Does Diffuse Disc Bulge Mean?

    There is no universal definition for this term in medical lingo, it just means a disc bulge in general but the words are often used on MRI reports and CT scans. Similar terms are diffuse annular bulge, minimal/mild diffuse disc bulge, posterior diffuse disc bulge, and so forth. These words help to differentiate or describe the way the disc is protruding or misshapen.

    What Is the Difference Between a Circumferential Disc Bulge & Annular Disc Bulge?

    Whenever the disc is bulging 50-100% beyond its normal jurisdiction, that’s typically referred to as a circumferential disc bulge. An annular bulge is a more generalized term many doctors use to communicate that the annulus fibrosus is involved in the bulge in question, but it hasn’t ruptured and become herniated.

    What Are the Treatment Options for a Bulging Disc?

    Great question, we offer non-surgical and minimally-invasive options. It’s really going to depend on the underlying causes of your specific condition, medical history, current health, etc. Here at Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab, we believe in using a noninvasive multidisciplinary approach that incorporates elements of chiropractic care, physical therapy, and chiropractic massage therapy needed to restore spinal health.

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    Exercises & Stretches for Bulging Disc in Lower Back

    First, don’t perform any exercise or stretch for bulging disc pain if the pain is sharp or severe. You may want to first perform them under the supervision of a professional like a Better Health chiropractor or physical therapist after a clear diagnosis to improve bulging disc recovery time. Here are a couple options:

    • Knee-To-Chest: Lay flat on the floor, bring chest to knees. Use arms to pull up and get a slight curl on your lower back.
    • Lay Atop Swiss Ball: Lay forward over the ball applying gravity-traction to the discs.
    • Side-Bends Away: You’re looking for lateral flexion away from the painful side – so if the disc bulge is on the right of the spine, bend to the left or slightly to the anterior to open up the disc and ideally help draw some of the disc fluid back into place.
    • Flexion Exercises: To open up disc space, and help draw disc fluid back into place.
    • Extension Exercises: After opening up the disc space you go into an extension movement to try and help push it back in.

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