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Herniated and Bulging Discs

Have you suffered a disc injury? Do you know the difference between a bulging vs herniated disc? If you suspect that your chronic back pain is due to a herniated disc or a bulging disc, or if you have already received a diagnosis that confirms a disc injury, we can help.

Whether your pain is mild or severe, it is important to to seek treatment right away to avoid permanent damage. Degenerative Disc Disease progresses over time and worsens without proper treatment. NUCCA Spinal Care and Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression often provide immediate relief from the pain and discomfort associated with a disc injury.

Chronic Back, Neck & Sciatica Pain Relief

Are You a NUCCA or Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Candidate?

Anatomy of an Intervertebral Disc

Intervertebral discs are small cushions that sit between your spinal bones. Each disc has a tough outer ring and a soft gel-like center. Spinal discs are your spine’s shock absorbers. Discs also act like spacers between the bones, so that they don’t touch or rub against each other when you are moving around. Healthy discs are sponge-like and help keep your spine flexible.

A herniated disc is a disc that ruptures due to trauma or injury. When a disc herniates, the outer shell cracks or tears. This break allows the jelly-like center of the disc to leak, irritating nearby nerves. The leaked material chemically and physically irritates the surrounding tissues causing symptoms.

A bulging disc is a disc that has degenerated over time. It has not reached the point of herniation, but it’s structure is weakened substantially. A bulging disc is basically a disc that has wear and tear, and physically irritates the nearby soft tissues.

Although herniated discs and bulging discs can occur in any part of your spine, most occur in the lumbar spine (lower back) or cervical spine (neck). These discs can press on nerves causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the area of the body affected by that nerve. Lumbar disc injuries oftentimes lead to low back pain symptoms and sciatica symptoms. Cervical disc injuries result in shoulder, arm and hand symptoms. It’s important to know the differences between a bulging vs herniated disc.

Why Do Discs Herniate?

The majority of the time, patients can pinpoint a specific incident or trauma which they feel is the reason for their neck or back pain. In other instances, symptoms come on gradually with no known cause. In our experience, the following are the most common causes of disc herniation.

    • Sudden Movement. Any sudden movement that jars your body can cause a disc herniation. Sometimes, it’s a simple movement that damages an already prone disc.
    • Sudden Strain. Lifting a heavy item, especially not using proper lifting technique, can hurt your back. You are especially susceptible to disc herniation when you lift a heavy item and turn your upper body at the same time. This is the most vulnerable position for your spine Always lift with your legs, completely stand up and then turn your entire body.
    • Wear & Tear. You are more at risk for disc herniations as you get older. Increased wear and tear translates to increased injury. In addition, the anatomy of a disc changes over time. Discs lose their water content over the years. A young person’s discs have a higher water concentration versus someone older. Many of us notice that we tend to shrink over the years, and one reason for that is a loss of disc height. A decrease in water content makes a disc more brittle and less flexible increasing the risk of disc damage.

Non-Surgical Solutions for Herniated & Bulging Discs

The information you share with us during your consultation, in addition to your exam and advanced imaging findings, helps us determine if we can help you. If you’re a candidate for our care, you can expect to have decreased pain, less numbness and tingling, improved function and increased muscle strength. Our doctors provide a long-term strategy to not only get the relief that you seek right away, but also prevent future spinal damage. We do not prescribe medications or perform injections.

Spinal Decompression slowly stretches and relaxes your spine. The cycles of decompression help create a vacuum phenomenon that allows nutrients, fluid and oxygen to flow back into your discs. This vacuum effect produced at the level of the affected disc, retracts the bulge/herniation back to center. This is important to note since discs are avascular. Meaning that discs do not have direct blood supply, with capillaries terminating at the end plates of the bones next to them.

Less than 20% of back surgeries are considered successful (meaning zero symptoms or disability). In our opinion, all non-surgical treatment options should be exhausted before surgery is considered. If you have had radiographs or MRIs taken before, please bring them with you to your appointment for our doctors to review. We see many patients that have failed other treatments such as prescription medications, physical therapy, and even surgery.

Don’t lose hope! We treat many patients with disc herniations successfully with our state-of-the-art spinal decompression technology and NUCCA Spinal Care dual approach.

Learn more about Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression and NUCCA Spinal care.

Want help with your disc injury? Call our office at (619) 313-5403 or request an appointment here.

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Prior to Intouch, I had back pain for over 3 years from a bulging L5S1 disc. My injury was a result of a skiing accident combined with years of running, Orange Theory Fitness and other strenuous workouts. I had been getting treatments from a traditional chiropractor for a few years with only temporary relief. Yet I was very skeptical about Nucca and Spinal Decompression. However, I can tell you right now that I recommend Dr. Tapia and Intouch Chiro without hesitation. After 10 treatments, I have almost all of my mobility back and am starting to do some low-impact workouts again. I feel like a new woman and I owe it all to Dr. Tapia. And, I cannot write this glowing review without mentioning Jocelyn who consistently has a smile and positive attitude when you walk in the door. Thank you!