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Bulging Disc & Back Pain: 7 Natural Treatments that Work

Do you have a bulging disc thats causing you back pain strong enough to interfere
with your job, family life or normal day-to-day activities? Feeling afraid that youll

never be able to get your pain under control for good and that it might just continue
to worsen as you get older?
Youre not alone. Many people with a bulging or herniated disc feel confused,
frustrated and worried about their condition. In the general population, about 1
percent to 2 percent of all people are believed to have a somewhat serious bulging
disc. The older you get, the likelier you are to develop disc problems because over
the years spinal discs lose their structure, elasticity, lubricating fluid and become
more brittle.
The good news is you can help prevent cracks, bulges or inflammation in your spinal
discs from developing or worsening by changing certain aspects of your lifestyle.
Lets talk about how you can effectively help heal your bulging disc in the fastest way
possible, allowing you to finally get some relief without needing to rely on
medications or, even worse, unnecessary surgery.
Bulging Disc Treatments: 7 Ways to Find Natural Relief from Back Pain
A bulging disc is a very common occurrence that results in a spinal disc compressing
against an adjacent nerve root. The disc essentially pushes out of its normal place
and starts impinging on nearby nerves of the spine, sometimes causing pain. For
some people, bulging discs can cause a good deal of discomfort, at times
progressing enough that they can become disabling and affect someones quality of
life greatly.
There are different severities of bulging or herniated discs some that are more
problematic than others. Not everyone with a bulging disc experiences pain or even
any noticeable symptoms at all, although many do. In fact, its now understood that
many people with bulging herniated discs function without any pain at all and arent
even aware of the problem. Studies show that bulging discs are common more
than 50 out of 100 older people examined using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
have some degree of a bulging disc but the underlying causes arent
well-understood, which makes appropriate treatment difficult.

If youve visited a doctor about a painful bulging disc, you might have been given
medications, such as over-the-counter painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle
relaxers or steroids to help control your symptoms. While these might work in the

short term to keep you more comfortable, they wont target the underlying cause of
the bulging disc or prevent another one from forming.
Estimates show that only about 10 percent of people wind up getting corrective
surgery to treat a bulging disc. Luckily for many people, disc problems heal within
several months (sometimes as little as within one month) and pain will subside,
especially if you take steps to lower swelling and inflammation. On the other hand,
for some people pain can linger on for many months or come and go. Unfortunately,
developing a bulging disc makes you more susceptible to having future back
problems, so this is why its important to do all you can to remain strong, flexible and
at a healthy body weight as you get older.
What are some therapeutic options that can help correct disc problems without the
risk for side effects? These include seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist,
improving your diet, staying active, stretching, and more.
1. See a Chiropractor for Spinal Adjustments
A chiropractor can help determine the type of bulging disc youre suffering from,

plus help you pinpoint some of the underlying causes. After diagnosis, a chiropractor
will perform targeted adjustments to help realign the spinal discs and prevent
protrusion into the spinal canal. The exact type of adjustments performed depends
on what the chiropractor finds during a physical exam.
Adjustments can include flexion-distraction, muscle stimulation, physiotherapy,
supplementation, and at-home stretches, exercises or treatments. I recommend
referring to the CLEAR Institute website for help understanding how chiropractic
adjustments and targeted exercises can help correct the spine without the use of
bracing or performing risky surgeries.
Chiropractic adjustments have been well-researched for treating symptoms of
bulging discs, including sciatic nerve pain, stiff neck and chronic lower back pain. A
study

published in the Official Journal of the North American Spinal Society found
that chiropractic adjustments helped adults with sciatic nerve pain feel less local

pain, have fewer number of days with pain, and fewer cases of moderate or severe
pain compared to people who didnt receive adjustments.
2. Visit a Physical Therapist
If pain from a bulging disc makes it hard to move around or work normally, a physical
therapist can assign specific exercises and stretches to improve your range of
motion, strength and flexibility. One type of physical therapy or postural correction Id
recommend is Egoscue, which is a series of gentle, targeted exercises that helps
correct musculoskeletal dysfunctions and compensations that put the spinal discs at
risk for injuries.
Before doing any heavy lifting or new types of exercises that can trigger even more
pain, talk to a physical therapist for help starting. Also pay close attention to your
symptoms, noticing what helps reduce pain versus what makes it worse. You might
find that certain things (like heavy lifting, sitting for long periods, running or jumping)
aggravate symptoms and you need some time to rest before continuing them.
Once you learn the correct form and exercises, you can continue to practice at home
to keep your back muscles strong and prevent another injury. Physical therapy can
also be extremely helpful for working on developing good posture. For example,
improving strength in your back keeps your shoulders back and down while you
walk, your chin and neck straight while you sit, and your navel tucked in to protect
your lower back while you go about day-to-day activities.
3. Stay Active
People who remain active into older age tend to experience less fragility, loss of
mobility, injuries and inflammation. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can cause
bulging discs and back pain to become even worse, since staying inactive weakens
muscles and puts more pressure on the spine, especially if youre overweight.
As long as youre not in severe pain that keeps you from being able to move around,
try walking daily and doing other forms of exercise you enjoy, like exercises to
strengthen your core to prevent low back pain. This can help you maintain

flexibility, strengthen and protect your back, and keep you on your feet more often.
Try to simply take more steps every day, and consider getting a pedometer or

fitness tracker, which can motivate you to keep increasing your walking distance
slowly and safely.
Performing weight-bearing exercises (especially those that build strength in the lower
back), doing light exercises in a pool, performing simple bodyweight exercises,

dancing, cycling and swimming are all good choices for injured or older people who
might not be able to do more than light activities. These are low-impact forms of
exercise and customizable depending on your fitness level. Stretching and
lengthening the spine are also beneficial. Stretching can help develop good posture
while reducing inflexibility, stiffness, inflammation and pain.
4. Get Enough Sleep and Rest
Overworking your muscles, bones and joints can lead to inflammation and weakened
discs, which is why you want to avoid overtraining. Make sure to make it a priority

to get a good nights sleep (seven to nine hours a night for most adults), plus give
yourself enough rest between workouts (especially if theyre intense and involve
lots of repetitive motions). This is important for keeping stress hormones under

control, supporting a healthy body weight and reducing the risk for further injuries.
5. Work on Correcting Your Posture
Ideally you wont spend many hours a day sitting down behind a desk, but if you do,
its even more important that you take time to focus on good posture, stretch

frequently and get up and move around. Take breaks every 2030 minutes to avoid
sitting for many hours while working at a desk or sitting down watching TV.
Incorporate targeted posture exercises into your day to loosen up tight areas (like

your lower back, neck and hamstrings), and retrain yourself how to sit, walk or drive
with proper posture.
While working, consider using a supportive ergonomic chair that supports correct
back posture. During your leisure time, try to do specific stretches or light isometric

exercises that strengthen your spine and core, stretch your legs, and loosen up your
shoulders and neck.
6. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

High levels of inflammation weaken your bones, muscles and joints, which makes it
more likely that youll deal with disc problems. While inflammation alone might not
cause a bulging disc, it can make spinal injuries harder to recover from and further
exacerbate painful symptoms.
One of the best ways to control inflammation is to eat a nutrient-dense diet filled with
healing foods, while lowering your intake of things like sugar, processed meats,
chemically sprayed crops, refined grain products, alcohol and packaged snacks. This
helps you stay at a healthy weight, which reduces the load placed on your lower
back.
What are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods for combating pain? These

include leaf green veggies, healthy fats including extra virgin olive oil and coconut

oil, clean and lean proteins (cage-free eggs, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish), and
fermented foods which contain probiotics. Other important factors for reducing
body-wide inflammation include avoiding smoking/recreational drugs, lowering stress
and sleeping well.
7. Reduce Pain Using Essential Oils, Massage Therapy, Heat and Acupuncture
Heating packs, acupuncture treatments and massages are all beneficial for back,

neck and limb pain. Acupuncture is a type of Traditional Chinese Medicine that uses
tiny needles to help unleash the bodys natural flow of energy. It might sound
intimidating, but its practically pain-free and has been approved by the FDA as a
treatment for back pain of all kinds.
One meta-analysis that reviewed the effects of acupuncture on 2,678 patients with
chronic back pain from 13 randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture
helped decrease pain intensity and level of disability while improving spinal flexion
and quality of life compared to not receiving treatments.
Using heating packs on the painful area or receiving a therapeutic massage can also
soothe back tightness and inflammation, but these need to be performed at the
proper time to be safe and beneficial. Heat can actually do more harm than good
following an injury, so avoid heating the painful area for at least the first 72 hours.

Icing the swollen area during the first 72 hours using ice packs, followed by targeted
heat therapies, is a safe way to treat back pains.
After youve given the inflamed area time to start healing, try using a heating pad on
low or medium for 15 to 20 minutes several times per day, laying down with the pad
placed on your back or wrapping it around your lower back while you sit down. A hot
shower or bath is another convenient, effective way to dull pain. Add Epsom salt to

a hot bath, along with soothing essential oils, such as peppermint or lavender oil, to
further penetrate and relax the inflamed area.

Heating and massaging painful areas helps relax muscles, loosen up tight tissue,
increase blood flow and even increase the production of painkilling, calming
chemicals, such as endorphins. While theres some controversy over whether or not
massage therapy is appropriate for people with disc problems, many think that this
can be a valuable means of helping reduce soft tissue and nerve pain located in the
lumbar region thats affected by a protruding disc. However, before beginning
massage treatments its a good idea to get clearance from your doctor if youre
unsure about the severity of your condition. For a safe pain-reducing treatment you
can utilize at home, try making a homemade muscle rub using peppermint
essential oil, which penetrates stiff muscles and reduces inflammation.
Bulging Disc vs. Herniated Disc: Whats the Difference?
Disc problems go by many names: herniated discs, slipped discs, collapsed discs,
ruptured discs, etc. This can become confusing for patients, especially since different
health care professionals dont always agree on the different definitions and various
causes of disc problems.
The good news is that despite the confusion about different terminologies, the
underlying causes of most disc problems are usually very similar. Doctors might refer
to your disc pain by different names depending on what they observe during a
physical exam or when questioning you about your back pain, leg pain, medical
history and lifestyle, but the same treatment options work for almost all types.
If youve been given several different diagnoses and are confused about what is
causing your back pain, heres what you need to know:

A herniated disc is more like a disc opening and spilling its insides out, while a
bulging disc is the disc stretching and protruding outward. Herniated discs are also
called ruptured discs or slipped discs more often than bulging discs are. Compared
to herniated discs, bulging discs are more common, and they might also go
unnoticed more often since they can cause less pain. Then again, each persons
symptoms are different.
The main difference between the two is that a bulging disc is thought to be caused
by pressure that forces the disc to stretch, while on the other hand a herniated disc is
primarily caused from a crack developing in the tough outer layer of the discs
cartilage. With a herniated disc, once a crack forms its possible for the discs softer
inner cartilage to move through the crack and touch surrounding nerves, similar to
what happens with a bulging disc.
Bulging Disc Symptoms
Common symptoms of a bulging disc can include:
localized pain felt in the spinal area, lower back, middle back, limbs, neck
or head
tingling or pain that travels down to the fingers, toes and wrists
numbness and weakness in the area of the body where the bulging disc is
pain and numbness in the buttock and down the legs (sciatic pain)
headaches
trouble moving normally due to muscle aches, throbbing or weakness
Although bulging discs are most likely to develop in the back (estimates show that
about 90 percent of bulging discs occur in the lower back, or lumbar area), they can
also affect other parts of the body when the abnormal disc comes into contact with
nerves that connect to the hips, buttocks, legs, neck and feet. The spine affects far
more than just the back. It extends up to the neck and through the limbs, which is
why its not uncommon for pain to be felt almost throughout the whole body.
The type of pain caused by a bulging disc is a clue to where the abnormal disc is
located:
Lumbar bulging discs most often cause pain in the buttocks, legs, feet and
abdomen.

Cervical bulging discs most often cause pain in the head, neck, shoulders,
arms, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers.
Thoracic bulging discs cause pain in the hands, chest, back and abdomen.
Causes of Bulging Discs
While they can develop at any age, bulging disks are most common in people over
the age of 30, and for reasons not totally understood theyre twice as common in
men as in women.
Discs act like soft cushions that buffer the space between vertebrae, which are the
small bones in the spinal column. Normally, discs serve as our natural absorbers of
shock, allowing us to move around and remain flexible. In healthy adults, discs have
a soft, gel-like center (called the nucleus pulposus) made up of flexible cartilage,
surrounded by a tougher layer (the annulus fibrosus) that keeps them held in place.
As someone becomes older, experiences more inflammation or becomes injured, the
outer layer (the fibrous portion) of the discs becomes more susceptible to being
stretched, pulled or bulged out of the normal place they occupy. Once bulging, a disc
becomes wider, stretched and also might become slightly squashed at the same
time. Some experts say a bulging disc looks almost like a hamburger thats too big
for its bun.
Growing pressure around a disc and poor posture are two common reasons why
discs can start to bulge. When a normal disc experiences accumulating pressure, it
starts to expand abnormally outward where it can come into contact with sensitive
neural tissues. Eventually the bulging disc protrudes into the spinal canal, which is
what triggers the sharp pain or tingling sensation thats associated with disc
problems.
Whether pain is felt in other parts of the body or not, the bulging disc itself is located
in the back. The most common type of bulging disc is located in the lower back,
which is called the lumbar region (specifically an area called lumbar vertebra L4 and
L5) where the sciatic nerve, among other spinal nerves, is located. This is why
bulging discs are the most common cause of sciatic nerve pain, which results in
frequent leg, lower back and neck pain or tingling.

Other than the lumbar region of the back, discs between cervical vertebrae (the
neck) and the thoracic spine (the upper or middle back) can also bulge and come
into contact with pain-omitting nerves.
The cervical spine is very sensitive to pain since it holds the spinal cord, which is
responsible for sending chemical messages to and from the brain. Bulging discs in
the neck are likely to cause pain that expands to the head, scapular area, shoulders,
arms, forearm and hands. In general, the lower back and neck are more susceptible
to bugling discs than the thoracic spine because these are the areas under the most
strain and pressure, since they help us move, bend over, twist, turn and do many
exercises. Estimates show that only about 1 percent of disc problems occur within
the thoracic spine since these vertebrae are connected to the rib cage, which helps
keep them in place.
Now that you understand how a bulging disc develops, lets look at the underlying
cause of a bulging disc. What causes the disc to protrude outward in the first place?
Disc pains are sometimes said to be age-related and just a normal part of getting
older. While theres plenty you can do to help prevent bulging discs, its true theyre
more common among older people, since aging causes intervertebral discs to
weaken. Other factors besides old age that contribute to bulging discs include:

Wear and tear of the discs (another side effect of getting older)
Loss of mobility and flexibility in the spine
An injury to the spine or neck
Being overweight
High amounts of inflammation due to factors like a poor diet, a sedentary
lifestyle, smoking or drug use, and high amounts of stress
Degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis/degenerative joint disease
Improper form when exercising (such as lifting weights incorrectly)
Working at a job that causes excessive back and neck strain
Being tall (studies show that taller individuals tends to have more bulging
discs)
Having poor posture

Bulging Disc Takeaways


The following ways can help naturally treat a bulging disc: see a
chiropractor for spinal adjustments, visit a physical therapist, stay active,

get enough sleep and rest, work on correcting your posture, eat an
anti-inflammatory diet, and reduce pain using essential oils, massage
therapy, heat and acupuncture.
A herniated disc is more like a disc opening and spilling its insides out,
while a bulging disc is the disc stretching and protruding outward.
Common symptoms of a bulging disc can include: localized pain felt in the
spinal area, lower back, middle back, limbs, neck or head; tingling or pain
that travels down to the fingers, toes and wrists; numbness and weakness
in the area of the body where the bulging disc is; pain and numbness in
the buttock and down the legs (sciatic pain); headaches; and trouble
moving normally due to muscle aches, throbbing or weakness.
The type of pain caused by a bulging disc is a clue to where the abnormal
disc is located: lumbar bulging discs most often cause pain in the buttocks,
legs, feet and abdomen; cervical bulging discs most often cause pain in
the head, neck, shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers;
thoracic bulging discs cause pain in the hands, chest, back and abdomen.
In general, the lower back and neck are more susceptible to bugling discs
than the thoracic spine because these are the areas under the most strain
and pressure, since they help us move, bend over, twist, turn and do many
exercises.
Factors besides old age that contribute to bulging discs include: wear and
tear of the discs; loss of mobility and flexibility in the spine; an injury to the
spine or neck; being overweight; high amounts of inflammation due to
factors like a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking or drug use, and
high amounts of stress; degenerative diseases like
osteoarthritis/degenerative joint disease; improper form when exercising;
working at a job that causes excessive back and neck strain; being tall;
and having poor posture.

Bulging Disc
What is a Bulging Disc?

A bulging disc injury is a common spine injury sustained to your spine's


intervertebral disc. It can occur in your lumbar spine (lower back), thoracic spine
(upper and mid-back) or your cervical spine (neck).
A bulging disc can commonly be referred to as a slipped disc or a protruding disc.
However, when the disc bulge is significant enough for the disc nucleus to come out
of the annulus, it is known as a herniated disc. See diagram.
What is a Spinal Disc?
Spinal discs are the shock-absorbing rings of fibrocartilage and glycoprotein that
separate your bony vertebral bodies, while allowing movement at each spinal level,
and enough room for the major spinal nerves to exit from the spinal canal and travel
to your limbs.
The annulus is the outer section of the spinal disc, consisting of several layers of
multi-directional fibrocartilaginous fibres all densely packed to create a wall around
the glycoprotein filled jelly-like disc nucleus.
The degree of spinal disc injury varies considerably from mild disc strains or internal
derangments, mild-moderate-severe disc bulges through to complete disc rupture
and herniation of the nucleus through the annular wall.
The fluid component, or disc nucleus, in the disc centre is like the caramel inside a
chocolate. It normally moves within the annulus adjusting to the pressures placed on
your spine.
However, if you injure the annulus, the wall weakens and the nucleus can press
outwards on the weakened disc wall, causing your disc to bulge outwards.

A disc bulge (commonly referred to as slipped disc, can potentially press against or
irritate the nerve where it exits from the spine. This nerve pinch can cause back pain,
spasms, cramping, numbness, pins and needles, or pain into your legs.
What Causes a Bulging Disc?
When a bulging disc, disc herniation or disc rupture occurs, it is typically due to
either:
a pre-existing weakness in the annulus, or
a sudden increase in pressure through the disc causing fibres of the
annulus to tear.
The causes of disc injury can be summarised under three headings:
1. Accumulated Microtrauma
Repeated microtrauma over an extended period can lead to disc injury. The best
example of accumulated microtrauma is poor posture.
Poor posture when sitting, standing and working stresses your spine. Sustaining a
slouching or forward bending of your spine leads to overstretching and weakness of
the posterior fibrocartilage (or annulus) of the spinal discs. Over time, this leads to
poor disc integrity and displacement of the disc nucleus fluid posteriorly. This places
your spinal joints and nerves under pain-causing pressure.
To decrease the effect of poor posture on your spine it is important to continually
attempt to a maintain a good posture or even better, regularly change your posture.
During your initial efforts to retrain a good posture, poor muscle endurance and
posture awareness predisposes you to sag back into your old habits. In these
instances, it is useful to note that supportive posture devices such as a lumbar roll,
Basset spine support, kinesio taping or a back brace are available to help you
maintain a lordotic curve to your lumbar spine during this transition phase.
Any sustained posture should be regularly altered to allow your spine to move and
remain healthy.
2. Sudden Unexpected Load
Sudden unexpected load to the intervertebral discs can also occur in traumatic
situations, ie: a motor vehicle accident. This may happen due to the nature of the

sudden forces exerted through your body at the time of impact and your bodies
attempt to repel those forces.
Unexpected load or torsion of a disc can result in tearing of the annulus fibres and
hence a disc injury. You should always lift any amount of load using the correct
postural lifting principles. Using poor lifting techniques, such as bending forward and
pulling with your back may result in sudden and unexpected loading of the disc.
Ask your physiotherapist about these principles.
3. Genetic Factors
As with many conditions spinal disc injury is considered to have a genetic
predisposition.
Those suggested to be susceptible are people who are known to have a lesser
density of and increased elastin component of the fibrocartiliginous fibres, which
make up the annulus of the intervertebral disc. Other factors that play a role are
more environmental in nature such as excessive abdominal fat, poor core stability,
poor lower limb strength, nature of occupation (ie: heavy physical load versus light or
no physical load).
Overall, genetic factors are a very minor contributing factor in disc injuries and if one
does sustain a disc injury it can almost never be put down to genetic factors. And,
lets be honest, you cant change your genetics. All you can do, is be more diligent in
your back injury prevention.
Bulging Disc Symptoms
A bulging disc injury is suspected when your back pain is aggravated by:
sitting
forward bending
coughing or sneezing
lifting

Sciatica, leg pain, pins and needles, numbness or weakness are commonly
associated with more severe disc pathologies.
Altered bladder and bowel function can indicate a severe disc pathology, which
should prompt immediate medical assessment.

How is a Bulging Disc Diagnosed?


Your physiotherapist or doctor will suspect a spinal disc injury based on the history of
your injury and your symptom behaviour. Your physiotherapist will perform clinical
tests to confirm a spinal disc injury and detect if you have any signs of nerve
compression. The most accurate diagnostic tests to confirm the extent of your spinal
disc injury are MRI and CT scans.

In the MRI show, a disc bulge can be identified. X-rays do not show acute disc
bulging. However, X-rays can show signs of chronic disc injury such as degenerative
disc disease and disc narrowing.
Bulging Disc Treatment
Most minor and moderately bulging disc injuries are treated conservatively without
the need for surgery. In order to allow the torn fibres of the annulus to heal and the
disc bulge to resolve fully, your bulging disc treatment is centred on encouraging the
fluid to return and remain in the centre of the disc. This keeps the torn fibres closer to
one another and the structure of the annulus as normal as possible.
Your physiotherapist will advise you on the best positions to stay in and may tape or
brace your spine. Theyll also explain to you the postures to avoid, which can be
detrimental to your recovery.
By maintain the disc fluid in the central position that you intend it to stay, you are
helping Mother Nature to lay down its scar tissue optimally for an excellent long-term
solution. Please remember that scar tissue formation will take at least six weeks, so
the longer that you avoid aggravating postures the better!
PHASE I - Pain Relief & Protection

Managing your pain is usually the main reason that you seek treatment for a bulging
disc. In truth, it was actually the final symptom that you developed and should be the
first symptom to improve.
Managing your inflammation. Inflammation is the main short-term reason for why you
have suddenly developed bulging disc symptoms. It best reduced via ice therapy and
techniques or exercises that deload the inflammed structures.
Your physiotherapist will use an array of treatment tools to reduce your pain and
inflammation. These include: ice, electrotherapy, acupuncture, deloading taping
techniques, soft tissue massage and temporary use of a back brace. Your doctor
may recommend a course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as
ibuprofen.
PHASE II - Bulging Disc Exercises
As your pain and inflammation settles, your physiotherapist will turn their attention to
restoring your normal joint alignment and range of motion, muscle length and resting
tension, muscle strength and endurance.
Your physiotherapist will commence you on a lower abdominal and core stability
program to facilitate your important muscles that dynamically control and stabilise
your spine.
Researchers have discovered the importance of your back and abdominal core
muscle recruitment patterns. A normal order of: deep, then intermediate and finally
superficial muscle firing patterns is normally required for pain-free backs. Your
physiotherapist will assess your muscle recruitment pattern and prescribe the best
exercises for you specific to your needs.
Your physiotherapist may recommend a stretching program or a remedial massage
to address your tight or shortened muscles. Please ask your physio for their advice.
PHASE III - Restoring Full Function
As your backs dynamic control improves, your physiotherapist will turn their
attention to restoring your normal pelvic and spine alignment and its range of motion
during more stressful body positions and postures. Theyll also work on your outer
core and leg muscle power.
Depending on your chosen work, sport or activities of daily living, your
physiotherapist will aim to restore your function to safely allow you to return to your
desired activities. Everyone has different demands for their body that will determine

what specific treatment goals you need to achieve. For some it be simply to walk
around the block. Others may wish to run a marathon.
Your physiotherapist will tailor your back rehabilitation to help you achieve your own
functional goals.
PHASE IV - Preventing a Recurrence
Back pain does have a tendency to return. The main reason it is thought to recur is
due to insufficient rehabilitation. In particular, poor compliance with deep abdominal
and core muscle exercises. You should continue a version of these exercises
routinely a few times per week. Your physiotherapist will assist you in identifying the
best exercises for you to continue indefinitely.
In addition to your muscle control, your physiotherapist will assess your spine and
pelvis biomechanics and correct any defects. It may be as simple as providing you
with adjacent muscle exercises or some foot orthotics to address any biomechanical
faults in the legs or feet.
General exercise is an important component to successfully preventing a recurrence.
Your physiotherapist may recommend pilates, yoga, swimming, walking,
hydrotherapy or a gym program to assist you in the long-term.
Fine tuning and maintenance of your back stability and function is best achieved by
addressing any deficits and learning self-management techniques. Your
physiotherapist will guide you.
What is the Prognosis for Spinal Disc Injury?
Unfortunately bulging disc injuries are usually not a quick fix. Most bulging disc
injuries do take several weeks to settle.
They will also remain weak and vulnerable for at least six weeks, sometimes longer.
However, the good news is that most bulging disc injuries will not remain painful for
that time period - but some do - and these tend to be the disc injuries that are poorly
managed in the early phase.
Spinal Disc Surgery
Surgery is occasionally required when your leg pain does not settle with a
conservative (non-operative) approach.
Persisting symptoms over six months may require the attention of a surgeon who
specialises in treating back pain and sciatica. If you have some severe symptoms

such as bowel or bladder dysfunction or extreme muscle weakness you may require
emergency surgery.
Please check with your physiotherapist or doctor for their professional opinion.
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