Is That A Crack In My Back? Disc Bulges and Herniations

Did you know that your back is one of the most important parts of your body? The spinal cord is the lifeline that connects your brain and the rest of the nervous system to your body, transmitting nerve signals that power every single move you make.

However, our spines are rather fragile and, if not cared for properly, easily damaged. In this new series, we’ll be looking at the various causes of back pain and how you can get it under control. Today, our focus will be on disc bulges and herniations.

Disc bulge vs herniation: what’s the difference?

Disc bulges occur when the spinal discs, or spongy bone structures that connect the vertebrae (parts) of the spine, gets compressed and bulges out, but without any protrusions. They mostly occur at the lower part of the spine.

Disc herniations, also known as slipped disc, may become more likely with disc bulges. The disc’ outer layer ruptures and causes the soft material within the center of the disc, the nucleus pulposus, to protrude out.

Pain happens when the bulging or herniated disc touches or compresses the nearby nerve. Discs that herniate are often in an early stage of degeneration.

The spinal discs refer to the connective structures that lock your vertebrae together, and are susceptible to bulging and herniations.

Causes of disc bulges and herniations

There are a few factors that increase the risk of developing a disc bulge or herniations. They include:

  • Degeneration and loss of elasticity or flexibility of the discs
  • Repetitive movement that strains the spine
  • Improper lifting technique
  • Trauma or high impact injury
  • Obesity
  • Genetics or family history

Disc bulges and herniations are painful, highly uncomfortable and interfere greatly with daily functioning. If severe, they may even cause difficulties with bladder control and numbness in the legs, limiting mobility.

Managing your bulging or slipped discs

If your condition is less severe, there are several easy ways for you to manage pain on your own:

  • Avoid activities that reproduce or worsen the pain. This includes extreme exercises such as weightlifting, which can complicate the condition.
  • For more acute cases, rest in your bed for no more than two days. Your spine needs time to recover and calm down.
  • Cryotherapy is very helpful—placing an ice pack on the hurting area helps calm inflammation.
  • Engage in gentle exercises and stretches and control your movements to avoid exacerbating the pain.
Slow walks or casual strolls are good examples of gentle exercises you can engage in!


The importance of the spine cannot be overstated—do seek treatment if you need more clarity!

Disc bulges and herniations can be managed through non-invasive treatment care. Good treatment options include chiropractic care—an option highly recommended by the UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Specific treatment options include:

  • chiropractic manipulation or adjustment to remove the pressure on the nerve and restore alignment
  • spinal decompression to promote nutrient rich fluid into the disc to speed up healing
  • ultrasound therapy to reduce inflammation and stimulate collagen synthesis and tissue healing
  • shockwave therapy to break down scar tissue and restore movement of the muscles and joints.
  • rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the core muscles that support the spine.

If you have a pressing concern about your spine that you’d like to get checked out, give us a call at 62084669 or drop us an email—we’re here to help!

In our next article, we’ll cover back strains and injuries—stay tuned!

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