Disc bulges also commonly known as a slipped disc or protruding disc, can happen anywhere in the spine. This most commonly can happen in the low back irritating nerves causing sciatic type pain (that is, pain down the legs), or 2nd commonly can happen in the neck and pinch nerves there causing pain going down the arm.
What are the symptoms of a disc bulge
Often people can experience:
Extreme cases, changes in bowel and bladder
What causes a disc bulge
In this case disc bulges happen because of smaller forces placed on the back over prolonged periods of time. The typical example of this is being in a job that requires you to sit down for hours at a time. Over time, long periods of sitting causes the disc to slowly thin and can compress/ irritate nearby nerves. Unfortunately this type of injury is a slow process, most people don’t realise they have a disc bulge until the late stages when it starts to give them nerve pain.
This happens due to a sudden big event causing trauma to the spine. This may be due to doing a 200kg deadlift, or falling from a snowboarding accident. Because the discs are the shock absorbers of the spine, this sudden event can cause the fibres holding the disc together to tear and cause pain.
Unfortunately you can inherit weak discs or spinal canals that are smaller than the normal. This factor is minor compared to the environmental factors effecting the discs
Active manipulations have more effect than simulated manipulations (placebo treatment) on pain relief for acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion.
How is a disc bulge diagnosed
Your Chiropractor or General Practitioner will suspect a disc bulge based on the history of your pain and signs during a physical examination. Your practitioner may refer you for further images to confirm a diagnosis. The gold standard of visualising the discs in the back is an MRI. An X-ray is not great at visualising the discs, but can still be used to see the thing of discs or arthritic changes around the spine that may also be contributing to your symptoms.
Chiropractic and disc bulges
Chiropractors deal with patients suffering from disc bulges on a daily basis. Depending on the type and severity of the disc bulge, treatment may range from the use of adjustments, mobilisations, rehabilitation exercises, massage and stretches to manage the pain and increase the function of the unhealthy joints that caused the disc bulge in the first place.
How do I know if I need surgery?
Generally, surgery is the last option. Conservative, non-invasive treatment such as Chiropractic is the first line of treatment for a disc. If a trial of conservative treatment is shown to be unsuccessful, then a referral to a spinal surgeon will be considered. Also, any changes in bowel and bladder control may warrant an immediate referral to a spinal surgeon.
Chiropractor Dulwich Hill
If you’re looking for advice from an experienced Sydney chiropractor, feel free to contact our clinic today.
My Back Relief Clinic
Suite B, 390 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill NSW 2203