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Disc Bulge

The Scenario

woman with back painYou have been helping your friend move all day, constantly lifting twisting and bending.  Over the course of the day, your back starts to tighten up, and continues to get tighter and more painful.  By the time you get home for the evening, you are in a lot of pain.


A disc bulge is when the inner gel-like substance of the disc is under so much pressure that it bulges outward against the outer fibrous layer of the disc.  In some cases, the disc will bulge into both the spinal and nerve root canal causing nerve compression.  Even without nerve pressure, disc bulges can be painful because of the pain sensitivity of the outer layer of the disc.  Most likely areas of the spine for a disc bulge to occur are L5 and C5.  On a side note, many disc bulges are asymptomatic in early stages.  It is important to understand that a disc buldge can potentially lead to a more significant problem, a disc herniation.

Common Symptoms

  • Back pain
  • stiffness
  • muscle tightness
  • arm pain
  • leg pain
  • pain with sitting
  • pain with changing positions
  • pain with coughing
  • pain with sneezing
  • antalgic lean,
  • difficulty finding comfortable positon in bed

Treatment Options

Conservative Chiropractic Treatment

Cox Flexion Distraction protocol 1, Ice/Heat, electrical muscle stimulation, Low-Volt Galvanic Current, core strengthening exercises, stretching, temporary activity modification and anti-inflamatory diet/supplementation.

Medical Treatment

Medications (Anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers), cortisone injections, or surgery (likely micro-discectomy).


Maintenance Cox Flexion Distraction protocol 2, exercise, stretching, ergonomics, proper lifting techniques, maintaining ideal weight, and core strengthening exercises.

Spinal problems rarely get better on their own. Begin care today.