Bulging discs usually present in the lower back. Chiropractic studies have shown that the L4 and L5 segments are more susceptible to stressors that enable and cause the discs to bulge.
These vertebrae shift and become compressed with stress and time. The bulge eventually reaches a point that causes symptoms that include:
- Limited range of motion
- Mobility issues
Bulging discs are a common ailment that chiropractors specialize in treating and is one of the most common reasons individuals seek treatment. There is a surprise when individuals learn that spinal adjustments are only part of the solution for relief from bulging discs. Once a chiropractor realigns the vertebrae back into place, the individual must put in the work of preventing any re-bulging.
Once relief has been attained individuals can become hesitant when a chiropractor informs them of the need for posterior chain strengthening. Posterior chain adjustments along with strength exercises are very important for the prevention of further bulging discs and overall optimal spine health. Restoring the lower back’s curvature and maintaining alignment requires strengthening the support system. Part of the chiropractic experience is educating patients on how to best maintain their spines.
Posterior chain Identification
A bulging low back disc is more than low back pain. A chiropractor will help an individual identify the posterior chain stimulus that is causing their bulging discs. An example to identify the posterior chain root that is causing the pain, a chiropractor will have an individual perform certain movements to figure out where along the chain the problems are occurring. It could be a weakness in the gluteal muscles or if the chiropractor asks the individual to touch their toes from a standing position and they are unable could show inflexibility.
Bulging discs begin with proper chiropractic adjusting and re-alignment. Palpitation along with radiological imaging will allow a chiropractor to determine which lumbar disc/s is bulging and to what extent. This will determine the treatment protocol that the chiropractor will take.
It can include drop table adjustments that will help shift any misaligned vertebrae, and traction to alleviate compression and inflammation. Depending on age, the severity of the bulge, and the cause of the condition, a combination of adjustment techniques could be utilized.
Once the pain has been addressed, a chiropractor will recommend exercises and stretches to strengthen the posterior chain and its support system. The disc/s that are bulging will be able to realign properly while any further bulges can be avoided. Strengthening is focused on the:
- Gluteal muscles
- Hip flexors
- Low back
Core strengthening will increase the strength of these muscle groups. This means enhanced support for the entire spine promoting the spine’s ability to handle stressors and avoid bulging. Individuals have found benefits from yoga or a specific stretching regimen of the posterior chain. This helps reduce stress in overused/worked muscles that improve flexibility and mobility support systems.
Bulging disc relief
Bulging discs should not be ignored. If left untreated it could lead to more severe complications. To prevent recurring bulges along with low back pain, an individual needs to strengthen the posterior chain. Strengthening, and stretching are all crucial to the chiropractic adjustment process. A customized chiropractic treatment plan will ensure every individual gets the proper support their body needs.
Herniated Disc Treatment
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Djuric, N et al. “Lumbar disc extrusions reduce faster than bulging discs due to an active role of macrophages in sciatica.” Acta neurochirurgica vol. 162,1 (2020): 79-85. doi:10.1007/s00701-019-04117-7