Each vertebral bone in your spine is separated by a round disc. Made of a tough outer covering, and a soft jelly-like interior, these discs act like a shock absorber of the spine. They also keep the spine flexible. When a disc bulge occurs, nerves can become irritated. This irritation results in discomfort, pain, and other symptoms.
Disc bulges are common injuries to the spine. They can appear in your neck, upper back, middle back, or lower back.
At Diamond Chiropractic in Omaha, Dr. Robert Nilles will diagnose the exact location and the cause(s) of the bulging disc. He will recommend the most appropriate treatment to reduce the symptoms quickly and to prevent future incidents. Relief from bulging disc pain is the primary goal when treating this condition.
Bulging Disc vs. Herniated Disc
A disc bulge often appears in the lower back region of the spine. It can occur in the neck if you have a neck strain or recently experienced whiplash. When it does occur, pressure is placed on the spinal nerves surrounding the affected region, causing pain, numbness, and even tingling and pain in the arms or legs. Older patients, athletes, and people who perform heavy physical tasks are more likely to have disc bulges.
Herniated discs are not as common. The pain, however, is sharp and intense due to the disc’s inner layer rupturing through the breaks of the outer layer. A herniation is often caused by trauma. It can develop from repetitive movements, heavily physical jobs, lifting things incorrectly, or past injuries. Other factors that cause stress on the spine increase the possibility of getting a herniated disc.
What Causes a Disc Bulge?
There are several causes behind a bulging disc. The most common causes for a bulging disc are age, lifting heavy objects, and whiplash.
One factor that can affect anyone is age. As you get older, the spinal discs become weak, losing the elasticity they had before. When there is a lot of stress on the disc, the inner material can be pushed to a weaker area, thereby causing a bulging disc.
Lifting Heavy Objects
Another common cause for a bulging disc is lifting incorrectly. When we lift something, we use our lower back to maintain balance and support. Because of this, the lower back is a common area for a bulging disc to appear. In addition, any combination of lifting, bending, and twisting can cause a bulging disc.
If a bulge appears in your neck, the most likely cause is a whiplash injury. A whiplash occurs when the neck moves back-and-forth or side-to-side rapidly. People experience whiplash from an auto accident or sports.
Symptoms to Look For
Most cases regarding a bulging disc will include pain in the affected area. However, if any nerves become irritated by this, the pain can spread to other regions of the body. A disc bulge in the neck can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the upper back and throughout the arms. Pain in the lower back can spread to your buttocks, legs, and feet; in this case, most people may believe they are experiencing sciatica, not a disc bulge.
Pain from a disc bulge can vary, depending on the affected area and activity. Sitting or standing can be rather painful for a patient with a disc bulge in their lower back; in fact, just putting on socks and shoes can be a challenge. If there is a disc bulge in the neck, a patient will notice that using a computer, driving, and simply turning their head is difficult to do.
Some symptoms to look for also include:
- Intense pain in the shoulder region, or over the shoulder blade
- Pain when moving the neck or low back
- Radiating pain in fingers, forearms, and/or upper arms
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in one or both legs
- Hyper reflexivity in the legs
- Bladder or bowel function changes
- Aggravating pain when coughing or sneezing
Treatment for Disc Bulges at Diamond Chiropractic
At Diamond Chiropractic in Omaha, our chiropractor will perform an examination, take x-rays, and evaluate your posture to determine the cause and location of your disc bulge. After comparing the findings and confirming the diagnosis, our chiropractor will develop a treatment plan to help alleviate your symptoms, heal the disc bulge, and provide you with recommendations to lower your risk for possible reoccurrences.
Our doctor will realign the vertebrae in the affected area to increase your range of motion and alleviate the pain on the spinal nerve. Symptoms resulting from the pain, from other nerves in the affected area, may begin to decrease as well.
Intersegmental traction involves the use of a special chiropractic table. This specific table includes rollers that will roll along the sides of the spinal column, allowing blood to flow through the tight muscles and ligaments. As this occurs, the muscles and ligaments loosen up and relax more; in addition, your spine will become more mobile. This type of treatment is effective with healing disc bulges, along with sciatic nerve pain and herniated discs.
Electro-therapy, or acupuncture, is effective with disc bulges in the spine, and with the symptoms. Patients will notice, after several treatments, that the muscle spasms they experienced from a disc bulge begin to decrease. The intense pain patients had prior will start lowering as well, and they will start to see more mobility come back to their spine, along with any other affected areas of the body.
With any injury, whether to the back, neck, or extremity, the last thing you want to do is make the pain worse. The same idea applies to healing a disc bulge. Our advice is designed to help you perform everyday tasks and responsibilities safely. We focus on healing and relief of the bulging disc, not aggravating it further.
Contact Our Omaha Chiropractor for your Bulging Disc
If you have a disc bulge, or you think one is forming, then Diamond Chiropractic Omaha North is your answer. Schedule an appointment with Diamond Chiropractic of Omaha, NE, today! Let us help you get relief from your disc bulge NOW and FAST!