Between each of the vertebrae in our spines there is a spongy disc that is made from a viscoelastic material. This means that the discs can provide flexibility, shock absorption and structural support within our spine. The discs have a surrounding capsule created by ‘annular fibres’ which enclose the soft centre. With age, repeated twisting and bending movements, and improper lifting techniques, micro tears form within these fibres, eventually leading to a complete tear. This results in the ‘herniation’ of the disc’s soft centre out of the capsule. This herniation can cause pain and irritation of the surrounding nerves or may not cause any symptoms at all! Due to this, disc bulges are commonly found in the older population without them ever knowing and therefore may not be the cause of your pain even if you have one present. Our practitioners are trained to determine the cause of your pain and to rule in or out if a disc bulge is the source.
Back pain caused by a disc bulge will usually present differently to other causes. Our practitioners may require a CT or MRI scan to confirm their diagnosis. The scan may also aid in determining just how severe the herniation is and can therefore provide more information towards the prognosis of your complaint.
Our practitioners will determine the effects of the bulge through a full orthopaedic and neurologic clinical examination. Sometimes there may be weakness in the muscles, this can be used to gauge whether treatment is helping, along with monitoring your pain. Bare Motion has tables specific to the conservative and non-invasive treatment of disc bulges, a technique called Flexion-Distraction. The technique involves a combination of stretching and flexing the spine in a gentle cyclic motion while the practitioner applies a mild pressure. This aims to reduce the tension on the disc and the nerves while reducing the bulge and any inflammation it may be causing. Generally, there should be no pain or discomfort during the treatment, it is usually found to be quite relaxing and pleasant. We may also prescribe you specific exercises to do at home that may help encourage the regression of the bulge.