Back pain can be excruciating to deal with. For many people, it not only means restricting activity but can also force them to miss days from work. There are all types of back pain that people deal with, each causing their own level of discomfort. A bulging disc falls into the category of painful medical issues. Let’s take a closer look at bulging discs and treatment as well as the issue of can a chiropractor fix a bulging disc.
What is a bulging disc in your back?
Your spinal column consists of stacked vertebral bones. In between each vertebrae are soft cartilage discs to provide cushion as you move. Each disc has its own tough outer cartilage that is shaped to fit right between the vertebrae it’s meant to cushion. As people get older or they experience other issues, the discs may start to lose their shape and protrude beyond where they’re supposed to be. When this happens, it’s referred to as a bulging disc.
Bulging discs are tricky because they can happen anywhere along the length of the spine from the neck all the way to the lower back. They are especially painful when the discs press against a spinal nerve. Bulging discs are sometimes difficult to diagnose because patients don’t always experience pain at the source of the problem.
Symptoms of a bulging disc located in the neck can include a headache, numbness or tingling feeling and pain in the neck, face, shoulders, arms, and hands. If there is a bulging disc in the lower back, symptoms often include at least one, and sometimes more of the following:
- weakness in the leg
Some patients may also experience changes in their bladder or bowel functions as well as numbness in their extremities.
People who live a sedentary lifestyle or those who smoke may increase their chance of developing a bulging disc. Weakened back muscles may also be to blame. Activities that put stress and strain on the spine can also cause bulging discs, such as lifting heavy objects.
A chiropractor can usually diagnose a bulging disc based on a physical exam and medical history. There are some cases where patients are advised to get an MRI or CT scan to diagnose their pain.
What are treatments for a bulging disc?
There are several treatments available if you are diagnosed with a bulging disc. Some doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the pain. Patients are also advised to change their body positioning when they sleep or sit to help reduce their symptoms.
In obese patients who are experiencing a bulging disc, a healthy diet and weight loss plan are often recommended. If there is a case of weakened muscles in the back, physical therapy may be recommended to strengthen muscles.
Heating pads, ice packs, massage therapy, and exercise can all help to relieve the pain caused by bulging discs.
Can a chiropractor fix a bulging disc?
Seeking the help of a chiropractor can help to relieve bulging disc pain. Chiropractic care is a natural, non-invasive treatment that helps many patients feel better.
When you visit a chiropractor for a bulging disc, they will look at the entire spine. This will let them know if there is a problem somewhere else in the spine that is adding stress to the strained disc. Chiropractors can also use adjustment methods that specifically take care of joint restriction and dysfunction. This can help to relieve symptoms and help patients get moving again.
Chiropractors also know how to safely stretch the spine. This can help to move the disc off of the nerve and relieve some of the pressure and pain. This can alleviate pain from the nerve root and lower inflammation caused by the bulging disc.
Chiropractic care offers patients a drug-free way to get rid of their pain. Many patients often prefer this type of treatment. It can also help patients to avoid surgery which can lead to a long recovery period.
If you think you may be experiencing a bulging disc, contact Epic Healthcare and Physical Medicine. We offer safe and effective chiropractic care for several issues. When patients ask can a chiropractor fix a bulging disc, we advise them to come in for a consultation so we can assess their problem and develop a treatment plan.
In our offices, we offer consultations, exams, and diagnostics to our patients. We work as a team to get to the root of your problem so that we can devise a tailored treatment plan, just for you.