A disc inside your body is a cushion that is sitting between the different vertebrae of the spine. These discs have tougher cartilage on the outside, along with softer cartilage in the middle.
What is a Bulging Disc?
The discs in the human body are soft objects that are just the right size to fit in between the vertebrae. But these discs can start to show some wear as a person gets older. The discs can begin to dehydrate, which means the cartilage on the outside gets stiffer. And the issues with the outer layer can result in the disc bulging over time.
When someone is impacted by a bulging disc, it can impact at least one-quarter of the circumference of the disc. Some bulging discs may impact the entire disc. And the issue only involves the outer layer of cartilage.
What are the symptoms of a Bulging Disc?
As the disc is beginning to bulge, most patients may not feel any pain. They would not even know the issue is present. The pain only starts when the disc has reached a certain level of severity that it starts to the impact the nearby vertebrae and nerves.
When a disc has bulged to such an extent that it is causing pressure on the nearby nerves, patients can start to feel many different types of symptoms. These include numbness, tingling and pain.
Patients can experience tingling or pain in their shoulders, neck, hands, fingers and arms. Since the bulging disc often impacts the lumbar area, it means that a patient may start to experience some symptoms in their feet, thighs, lower back and their buttocks.
Having a bulging disc can be confusing, as many patients do not associate those symptoms with the condition. A person may think they have a completely different issue. And it is not until they see a doctor that a proper diagnosis can be done.
If the bulging disc impacts the sciatic nerve, the pain that is being experienced is known as sciatica. And that can cause further issues, such as bladder incontinence.
What causes a Bulging Disc?
Lifestyle and the physical activity of a patient in the past few years play a key role in the development of a bulging disc. As a person gets older, the discs in the body naturally wear out more.
Having an excessively sedentary lifestyle can contribute, along with smoking, a heavy strain on the body, poor posture and playing sports. Heavier individuals who are also doing some of the activities mentioned above are at even greater risk of developing a bulging disc.
When you should see a Chiropractor
When a patient is experiencing the pain mentioned above, it is a good idea to see a chiropractor. Many assume that it is best to see a regular doctor, but a chiropractor can provide a more in-depth treatment when dealing with a bulging disc.
A chiropractor will perform the necessary examinations on the patient, which may include an X-Ray or MRI scan. These scans are vital to get a look at what is happening with the bones and muscles in the body.
When a chiropractor has made a diagnosis about the condition, they will recommend a course of treatment. And it often involves addressing the problems in the spine that led to the bulging disc.
A spinal realignment can help patients. If there is some dysfunction or restriction in the spine, which has resulted in the bulging disc and associated pain, a chiropractor can correct that problem.
It is an effective and safe treatment that does not involve medication. But patients must recognize the need to address the lifestyle choices that may have contributed to the problem.