Bulging discs, also known as a spinal disc herniation (prolapsus disci intervertebralis), or informally and misleadingly referred to as a "slipped disc", is a medical condition effecting the spine, in which a tear in the outer, fibrous ring (annulus fibrosus) of an intervertebral disc (discus intervertebralis) allows the soft, central portion (nucleus pulposus) to bulge out. Between every bone in the spine, you will find a ring of fibrous cushion (referred to as vertebral discs). These discs act as shock absorbers, as ligaments (holding the vertebrae of the spine together), and as joints that allow for spine mobility. Envision them looking a little like donuts with jelly filling. When the exterior part of the donut is damaged, the jelly (or in this case the nucleus pulposus) comes out. The result: a bulging, or herniated disc and PAIN!
A herniated disc can irritate nearby nerves resulting in pain or numbness. Symptoms commonly include: leg pain, nerve pain, neurological symptoms (such as tingling), difficulty lifting the foot, lower back pain, pain that worsens with movement, and pain that worsens from hunching forward while sitting or bending down to tie up your shoes. This tear in the disc may also result in the release of inflammatory chemical mediators which may directly cause severe pain. This is the rationale for the use of anti-inflammatory treatments for pain associated with disc herniation, protrusion, bulge, or disc tear.
Bulging discs or spinal disc herniation are normally a further development of a previously existing disc protrusion, a condition in which the outermost layers of the annulus fibrosus are still intact, but can bulge when the disc is under pressure. Genetics, body weight, age, and occupation may also play a role.
After consultation and completing a full spinal evaluation, a chiropractor, such as Dr. Michael Horowitz in Vancouver, can provide various treatment options for recovery from herniated discs. Upon creating a treatment plan that involves the use of gentle, low pressure spinal adjustments, a chiropractor can alleviate pain and help to effectively treat herniated discs.
Registered massage therapy is another option to relieve pain or numbness caused from a herniated disc. Although massage cannot heal a herniated disc, by working on the areas surrounding the bulging disc, it can increase circulation to the surrounding tissue and improve muscle flexibility and range of motion.
Hycroft Chiropractic & Massage
#114-3195 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3K2