How Can I Heal a Bulging Disc Without Surgery?

Herniated disc diagram

A bulging disc is a common spinal condition often caused by aging or injury, resulting in varying pain levels and movement restriction. So, what exactly is a bulging disc?

A bulging disc is a medical condition that affects the spine. This condition occurs when the spongy, fluid-filled discs between vertebrae (the bones in the spinal column) become compressed. When this happens, the porous disc presses on the spinal cord and bulges out, leading to pain in immediate and affected areas, and potential problems with mobility.

Often, an individual with a bulging disc may have difficulty walking, sitting, or standing correctly. Other bulging disc symptoms include pain in the legs, back, or buttocks.

Think you or someone you know may have a bulging disc? Read on to learn more about signs, symptoms, and chiropractic treatments for a bulging disc.

What are the Symptoms of a Bulging Disc?

The symptoms of a bulging disc depend on its location and whether or not it makes contact with a nerve. Although, these symptoms aren’t the only way to start the diagnosis: some people may show no signs indicating a bulging disc unless it shows up on a spinal image.

The following are the most common symptoms of a bulging disc:

  • Back pain, especially during mobility or when sneezing or coughing
  • Pain in the thigh, calf, or buttocks
  • Pain in the shoulder or arm when you move
  • Weakness in the legs and feet
  • Difficulty with movement around the ankles, legs, and knees
  • Numbness and tingling in the legs
  • Stumbling and reduced coordination
  • Weak muscles

What Causes a Bulging Disc?

As stated earlier, a bulging disc happens when there is a change in the quality of the jelly-like substance in the spinal disc. Common risk factors of a bulging disc include:

  • Activities involving heavy lifting
  • Spinal injury caused by a car accident 
  • Strenuous physical activity involving repetitive movements
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking 
  • A lifestyle with limited physical activity
  • Genetics
  • Frequent driving

Bulging Disc Treatments Without Surgery

Once you know the source of pain is a bulging disc, the logical next question is: How is a bulging disc treated? If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of getting surgery on your spine, you’re not alone. While many doctors default to surgery as the only solution, the good news is that there are other effective, natural treatments to try first, and experienced chiropractors who specialize in non-surgical treatments for bulging discs.

Standard non-surgical treatments typically include physical therapy and exercises. These treatment methods can strengthen the muscles around the disc and aid mobility. A chiropractor will work with you to determine appropriate and safe activities depending on the location of the bulging disc and the severity of the symptoms.

Recommended exercises may include mild activities such as yoga or walking. Others include stretches, planks, and spinal decompression.

Spinal Decompression for Bulging Discs

Spinal decompression is the best and most effective natural way to relieve pain in the body due to compression or misalignment in the spine. (If you haven’t heard of it, it’s because you haven’t been to a chiropractor who offers spinal decompression!)

As the name implies, this non-surgical procedure involves gentle tractioning- stretching in opposite directions- of the spine to create space and increase circulation between vertebrae, which is the ideal environment for your spine to decompress and effectively heal itself. This happens on a flat decompression table (not an inversion table) for a gentle approach.

Spinal decompression treatments generally last about 30 minutes per session, with multiple sessions added on a weekly-or-so basis until your spine has regained pain-free alignment. Many people with back pain from bulging discs experience relief after just the first session.

At O’Dell Family Chiropractic, Dr. O’Dell begins with every new patient by evaluating the root cause of pain symptoms as well as the alignment of all the muscles and bones in your body. This is done through a spinal screening, x-rays, and a combination of multiple healing modalities tailored to you, your anatomy, and your pain.

Is Your Bulging Disc a Pain in the Back?
O’Dell Family Chiropractic Can Help.

At O’Dell Family Chiropractic, we’re in the business of keeping your spine healthy, aligned, and pain-free. Spinal injury, car accidents, overactivity, inactivity, and bodyweight distribution may trigger a bulging disc.

If your symptoms are similar to that of a bulging disc, contact us today at O’Dell Chiropractic for consultation, diagnosis, and effective treatment, starting with our new patient special: a no-obligation spinal decompression screening for only $37!

Take the first step to getting your pain under control.



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O’Dell Family Chiropractic

Primary Location
853 Ridge Rd
Webster, NY 14580
(585) 671-9210

Secondary Location
144 Metro Park
Rochester, NY 14623 US
(585) 671-9210