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What To Do About A Bulging Disc In Lower Back

The Mckenzie Method Can Help Shift Sciatica Pain

How To Fix A Bulged Low Back Disc WITHOUT Surgery

The McKenzie Method is one type of physical therapy that involves a specific approach to exercise. For lumbar herniated disc pain, the goal is to shift pain away from your leg and centralize it more in your lower back.5

  • Your specific symptoms typically determine which McKenzie Method exercises a physical therapist will suggest.
  • After your symptoms have moved out of your leg, the approach usually shifts to longer-term rehabilitation to strengthen your back and other key muscle groups.

Even after the lumbar herniated disc pain has subsided, a back strengthening and stretching program should be continued to reduce the risk of lumbar pain returning.

Read more about McKenzie Therapy for Mechanical Low Back Pain

Treating Pain And Staying Active

Acute low back pain usually has no clear cause and goes away on its own after a few days. And even if a slipped disc is causing it, your body will probably be able to make the problem go away on its own within six weeks. Most treatments hardly affect the speed of recovery. Hot packs or massages might help you feel better. If you have severe pain, short-term relief can be provided by getting into a position that reduces the strain on your back and by using or local anesthetics. But most of the work is usually done by the body itself.

If slipped disc symptoms persist for a longer time, surgery may be an option to try to relieve the pressure on the affected nerve. However, most experts believe that slipped disc surgery is done more often in Germany than is actually necessary. So it might make sense to get a second opinion if your doctor advises you to have surgery and you aren’t sure whether this is the right treatment.

It is particularly important to stay as physically active as possible despite the pain. Exercise will not only keep your body in shape, it generally also has a positive effect on your mood. Getting enough exercise and keeping up the strength of your torso is key in order to stop back pain from becoming chronic. Physical activity has been scientifically proven to have a preventive effect and it is probably the most important thing you can do to help yourself.

Potential Causes For A Bulging Disc

  • People who have led a sedentary lifestyle or those who smoke increase the chances for bulging disc.
  • Continuous strain on the disc from injury or heavy lifting and strain can wear them down throughout the years.
  • Weakened back muscles can accelerate the process and may lead to a sudden herniation of the weakened disc.
  • Although bulging discs occur over time, herniated discs may occur quickly by trauma.
  • Bad posture including improper body positioning during sleep, sitting, standing or exercise are all risk factors which may contribute to the development of a bulging disc.
  • High contact sports or activities are also risk factors.
  • Runners who fail to use shoes that provide orthopedic support may also develop bulging discs.
  • Activities that place stress and strain on the spine can lead to the weakening of the discs.

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What Are Nonsurgical Treatment Options For Herniated Discs

Most people who have herniated discs respond well to conservative treatment and do not require surgery.

Often, there wont be one single strategy to address herniation in a non-surgical way. Youll be encouraged to adopt some healthy lifestyle practices along with targeted treatment like physical therapy, says Nikhil Jain, MD, clinical spine surgery fellow at University of Louisville School of Medicine. Even if genetics is playing a role, theres a great deal you can do to improve spinal function.

In addition to physical therapy and pain-relieving medications as recommended by your doctor, these are a few things you can do to feel better.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Slipped Disc

7 Herniated Disc Exercises For Lower Back (Also for bulging discs)

You can have a slipped disc in any part of your spine, from your neck to your lower back. The lower back is one of the more common areas for slipped discs. Your spinal column is an intricate network of nerves and blood vessels. A slipped disc can place extra pressure on the nerves and muscles around it.

Symptoms of a slipped disc include:

  • pain and numbness, most commonly on one side of the body
  • pain that extends to your arms or legs
  • pain that worsens at night or with certain movements
  • pain that worsens after standing or sitting
  • pain when walking short distances
  • unexplained muscle weakness
  • tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the affected area

The types of pain can vary from person to person. See your doctor if your pain results in numbness or tingling that affects your ability to control your muscles.

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Exercise #: Plank To Strengthen Core/abs

This exercise is ideal for strengthening both your deep core and gluteal muscles.

How to do it:Begin lying on your stomach with your forearms against the mat. Engage your core and lift your body so that you are resting on your forearms and toes. Ensure that your spine is in a neutral spinal position . Hold the plank position for 20-30 sec, Then lower down to floor. Aim for 2 to 5 repetitions of this exercise.** Ensure to keep your back straight throughout the entire exercise.


Other forms of exercise that may help, that were not mentioned above include core strength, walking, pilates, and yoga.

Seeing a primary musculoskeletal care provider is the best approach if your symptoms are not resolving. This includes DO/MD/DC/DPT.

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Dr. Smith earned his Doctorate In Physical Therapy from the University of Miamis Miller School of Medicine and currently practices as a home care therapist in the Tampa Bay area. He uses his eclectic background of working with everyone from those in the ICU to elite athletes to customize care for each one of his patients and progress them toward their personal goals.

Prior to being a Physical Therapist, he earned a masters degree in public health and managed big pharma clinical trials worldwide. He enjoys CrossFit, Animals, and helping people live a pain free and active lifestyle

Do Disc Bulges Get Worse Over Time

Unfortunately if disc bulges are left untreated, and if the abnormal spinal stresses that caused them continue, they will often worsen over time.

For the disc bulge or herniated disc to have any possibility of recovery, the instigating stress must be minimized.

If the repeated forward bending stress continues, or the improper body mechanics continue, very often the inner disc material will continue to push backwards, causing the disc bulge to worsen, to herniate, progressing into the spinal canal and towards the spinal cord.

This may cause severe back pain as an exiting spinal nerve root is compressed, or sciatica/sciatic nerve pain in the lower back and down into the leg.

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Symptoms Of Disc Problems

The symptoms of an irritated disc can vary according to its location and severity. Back scans are often unhelpful for determining whether a persons back pain is coming from a disc issue, as discs change with aging and with use. However, symptoms may include:

  • increased back pain when repetitively bending or with prolonged sitting
  • increased back pain with coughing, sneezing, laughing or straining
  • pain, numbness or pins-and-needles radiating into an arm or leg if a disc has caused irritation of a nearby nerve.

When Should I See A Doctor

How to Fix a Bulging Disc (NO SURGERY!)

Initially, you can treat herniated disk pain at home. But you should see your doctor if:

  • Pain interferes with daily life, like going to work.
  • Symptoms arent better after four to six weeks.
  • Symptoms get worse.
  • You develop loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • You notice tingling, numbness or loss of strength in your arms, hands, legs or feet.
  • You have trouble standing or walking.

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Lower Back Pain: Causes And Treatments

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, lower back pain is the second most common type of pain . If you suffer from lower back pain, youre not alonemillions of people experience it every day. But what causes lower back pain? And more importantly, what can you do to treat it? Read on to find out.

Manual Therapy And Treatments Based On Physical Stimuli

The treatment options for sciatica following a slipped disc also include manual therapy and treatments based on physical stimuli. Manual treatment may include massages and special techniques for relaxing tense muscles or locked joints. Treatments based on physical stimuli use warming and cooling methods to relieve pain. These treatments are also called passive therapies because patients don’t have to actively participate. Common treatments include:

  • Massages: Various massage techniques are used to relax muscles and ease tension.
  • Heating and cooling: This includes the use of hot packs and heating patches, a hot bath, going to the sauna or using an infrared lamp. Heat can also help relax tense muscles. Cold packs, like cold wraps or gel packs, are also used to help soothe irritated nerves.
  • Ultrasound therapy: Here the lower back is treated with sound waves. The small vibrations that are produced generate heat and relax the body tissue.

There is no overall proof that passive treatments speed up recovery from a slipped disc or relieve the pain especially well. But many people find that heat or massages are pleasant and relaxing.

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Avoid Lifting Barbell In Slip Disc

Lifting a barbell in standing posture is a common exercise among bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. In addition to bending forward, the weight of the barbell doubles up the stress on the lumbar area.

This exercise is very dangerous for bulging discs of the lumbar spine. You should immediately stop this exercise.

Avoid Standing Hamstring Stretching In Sciatica

16+ Yoga For Lower Back Pain Bulging Disc

In the group of exercises to avoid in lumbar radiculopathy, our next common exercise is hamstring stretching. If you have a lumbar disc hernia and doing this exercise then it may increase your sciatica pain. Hamstring muscles are present on the back thigh and to stretch it we need to perform this exercise which requires us to bend in the lower back.

Actually, in this exercise, we have to keep our heel on a stool/ chair in front of us keeping the knee as straight as possible. Now take the opposite side hand and try to touch the great toe, and at the same time move your forehead towards the knee.

As you can observe the movement of the lumbar spine, you should better avoid this exercise. Here,s what next exercises to avoid with bulging discs

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Will I Need To Have Spinal Surgery

Herniated disks get better on their own over time or with nonsurgical treatment for 9 out of 10 people. If other treatments dont relieve your symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery. There are multiple surgical techniques for relieving pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, including:

  • Diskectomy to remove your herniated disk.
  • Laminectomy to remove part of the bone around a herniated disk and expand your spinal canal.
  • Artificial disk surgery to replace a damaged herniated disk with an artificial one.
  • Spinal fusion to directly join two or more vertebrae together to make your spine more stable.

Avoid Touching Toes In Standing

This is perhaps the most common move in the number of exercises and we strictly recommend to avoid this exercise. This exercise includes bending forward in standing posture with your hand straight as if trying to touch the great toe.

One of the yoga poses also involves this bending movement. So if you are doing this exercise and at the same time if you have a disc hernia at l5-s1 then do avoid it.

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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 made up of flexible cartilage, surrounded by a tougher layer that keeps them held in place.

As someone becomes older, experiences more inflammation or becomes injured, the outer layer 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.

Bulging Disc Takeaways

What Is The Best Slipped Disk Treatment

How to Fix a Bulging Disc in Your Lower Back | RELIEF IN SECONDS!

You may need more advanced treatments if your symptoms aren’t getting better. Your healthcare provider might recommend:

  • Medication: Your provider may prescribe an anti-inflammatory pain reliever or muscle relaxant.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist teaches you an exercise program to help relieve pressure on your nerves. Exercise loosens tight muscles and improves circulation.
  • Spinal injections: Called an epidural or nerve block, a spinal injection is a shot of steroid medication directly into your spine. The medication reduces swelling and inflammation of the nerve from the disk herniation. This will allow your body to heal and return to activity faster.
  • Surgery: In rare cases, a large herniated disk might injure nerves to the bladder or bowel. That may require emergency surgery. For nonemergency cases, surgery is an option when other treatments fail. There are various ways to perform spinal decompression surgery, but the goal is to relieve pressure on the nerve.

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Strengthening Exercises For Herniated Disc

Strengthening the muscles that control and/or influence the lower back will help reduce pressure on the disc bulge.

a) Bridge

  • Lie on your back with knees bent.
  • Engage your glutes to tilt your pelvis backwards.
  • This should flatten your lower back onto the ground.
  • Engage your core muscles.
  • Push through your heels and drive your hips upwards.
  • Aim to feel the contraction in your gluteal muscles.
  • Only go as high as you can go without arching your lower back.
  • Hold the end position for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.
    • Note: Be aware that this exercises also places more stress to the shoulder.

    Bulging Disc And Herniated Discs

    You may have had a medical exam that revealed an underlying health problem. The physician explained that you have a Bulging Disc, but you may still have questions that have been unanswered.

    This condition can happen to anyone at any age but is more prevalent in older populations or with those who are involved in strenuous physical activity for extended periods of time. It is important to understand the symptoms, causes, and treatments for a bulging disc to prevent the condition from worsening.

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    How Is A Herniated Disk Diagnosed

    Your healthcare provider will do a thorough exam. During the physical, your provider will assess your pain, muscle reflexes, sensation and muscle strength. Your provider may also order tests such as:

    • Magnetic resonance imaging : The most common and accurate imaging test for a suspected herniated disk is an MRI.
    • X-rays: Getting X-rays helps rule out other causes of back or neck pain.
    • Computed tomography : A CT scan show the bones of your spine. Herniated disks can move into the space around your spinal cord and nerves and press on them.
    • Myelogram: A myelogram involves an injection of dye into your spine using X-ray guidance for a CT scan. The dye can reveal a narrowing of the spinal canal and location of your herniated disk.
    • Electromyogram : This test involves placing small needles into various muscles and evaluate the function of your nerves. An EMG helps determine which nerve a herniated disk affects.

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    What To Do Next

    Diagnosis of Lumbar Disc Herniation or Slipped Disc

    2. Come join me on the . Lets keep in touch!

    3. Start doing the exercises!

    Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog post is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the content provided on this blog post is at your sole risk. For more information: Medical disclaimer.

    Leons Notes:research

    With most bulging discs in the lower back, you want to try an extension based exercise program . This can reverse the direction of the bulge and push the fluid back into neutral alignment. Also, working to strengthen your core is important.


    Note: Always monitor your pain severity and location, if these exercises make you feel worse, stop doing them and try a different exercise or consult with your doctor.

    The Complete Low Back Fix

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    What Are The Symptoms Of A Herniated Disc

    The disc may press on the nearby nerve roots or spinal cord causing symptoms. A person may not have any symptoms or they may have mild, moderate, or severe symptoms.

    The symptoms of disc herniation in the lumbar spine may include sciatica or numbness, weakness, and/or tingling or other sensations in the leg and/or foot pain in the lower back and/or buttocks and pain in the leg and/or foot. Symptoms of disc herniation in the cervical spine are similar, but they affect the neck, arm, and hand.

    A person with a disc problem in the lower back may also have difficulty bending forward at the waist and worsening pain when sitting or straining, or with sudden movements .

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