Uncommonly a disc bulge can also occur in the thoracic spine. Sometimes people can live with a disc bulge and experience no pain at all, even if it is shown to compress the nerve on CT or MRI. In fact, despite at CT scan showing a disc bulge, research has demonstrated that your back may not even be related. This suggests it is an incidental finding. Acute disc herniation or bulge, can cause sudden onset of low back pain with or without leg pain past the knee. Usually, with tears within the disc, low back pain is experienced however with discs that herniate and compress the spinal nerve, leg pain is greater. Pain is described as sharp and shooting and usually worse when bending forward.
Prognosis for disc herniation/bulge will depend on the severity of the bulge. Approximately 75% of lumbar disc herniations will resolve within a 6 month period (Vizniak, 2009). Sometimes, surgery may be warranted if a trial of conservative care is not successful (usually after 6 – 12 weeks).
Our Chiropractors will assess the effects of the bulge through clinical assessment. Sometimes there is weakness in the muscles and this is used to assess whether the treatment is helping, along with monitoring your pain. We are very cautious with disc bulge patients as we understand that the wrong treatment could make your symptoms worse. We will also prescribe you specific exercises to do at home that can help encourage the disc bulge to regress such as McKenzie exercises.
If you have been diagnosed with a disc bulge and would like to be assessed by on of our Chiropractors, please call today or book online.