Bulging and Herniated Discs

Accepting New Spinal Care Patients

Caring Chiropractors for Bulging or Herniated Discs

Chiropractic Assessments For Disc Injury is Crucial


Many people assume they need surgery for bulging or herniated discs. While such surgery might be necessary for some patients, it is not inevitable for everyone. Even if surgery is eventually required, as it often is to repair a herniated disc tear, chiropractic bulging or herniated disc treatment can reduce symptoms so that patients can postpone surgery. Other patients of ours have required much less involved and risky procedures after a course of treatment.

No matter what surgical decisions our patients need to make, they experience the benefits of our thorough assessment and a carefully designed treatment program based on scientific research. They also benefit from our guidance regarding a variety of lifestyle interventions such as nutrition, movement, and sleep. At West Suburban Wellness, our bulging and herniated disc chiropractors hope this guide to bulging and herniated discs gives our patients helpful knowledge about this condition and the many therapies that can help these conditions.

Bulging vs. Herniated Disc

The spine is made of spinal vertebrae that are stacked on top of one another. If these bones moved directly across one another, they would wear down and quickly become painful. Intervertebral discs or discs help cushion the vertebrae from one another.

Ideally, these discs are sandwiched between the vertebrae so that they don’t protrude from the edge of these bones. These discs protect the vertebral bones from one another. They also provide shock absorption for the spine and the rest of the body.

Discs wear with age and can be injured in accidents. Two common disc conditions are bulging and herniations. The terms bulging and herniated are frequently used interchangeably. They are, however, two completely different conditions.

Bulging Disc

A bulging disc occurs when all or part of a disc is compressed. Even if only part of the disc is flattened, the entire disc will bulge or protrude around the edges of the vertebrae. Although the disc bulges outward, it is entirely intact.

Herniated Disc

Slipped or ruptured discs are two other names for herniated discs. A herniation occurs when the outer layer of the disc is torn. This tear in the disc is what makes a herniated disc a different issue than a bulging disc. Bulging discs are not torn. This damage allows the inner layer of the disc to herniate or protrude from the tear. Since the inner material of the disc can compress the nerves inside the spinal column, a herniated disc can become very painful.

Common Causes of Bulging or Herniated Discs

Bulging discs are increasingly common with age. Discs can also bulge or develop a herniation after a fall, car crash, or other accident. Some of our patients experience bulging discs due to repetitive strain of the spine from lifting heavy objects. In addition to trauma and heavy lifting, excess weight and genetic susceptibility also increase the risk of bulging discs.

Symptoms of Bulging or Herniated Discs

Bulging discs don’t always have symptoms. In fact, many of our patients have lived with bulging discs for many years and are surprised when we point them out. Other patients have symptoms when this condition is just beginning.

Since the spine houses nerves that travel between the brain and body, symptoms will vary depending on where the bulging or herniated discs are located along the spine. At West Suburban Wellness, our chiropractors specialize in diagnosing bulging and herniated discs as well as locating which discs are causing the issues. Some common symptoms of disc injuries include:

  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Pain
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Altered bowel or bladder function
Chiropractor at West Suburban Wellness adjusting patient

Why Disc Injuries Should Be Treated Promptly

Herniated discs can become very painful, so most patients come in for treatment eventually. Sometimes, pain can wax and wane. Other times, patients become so accustomed to the pain that it doesn’t seem to be severe. Trust us. The underlying condition does not improve in either of these instances.

When herniated or bulging discs are untreated, the nerve dysfunction they cause gets worse. This can lead to worsening or chronic pain and dysfunction. While many of our patients blame their disc issues on the inability to lift as much or develop shooting pains that travel down their legs, few don’t immediately link urinary incontinence or difficulty moving their bowels with their bulging or herniated disc.

Another serious complication of a herniated or bulging disc is called saddle anesthesia. This is an extremely serious complication of an untreated herniated disc. It occurs when a severe herniation heavily compresses the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord to the lower body. As a result, the patient’s sensation is minimal or lost to the backs of the legs, inner thighs, and around the rectum.

How Chiropractic Can Help Alleviate Bulging or Herniated Disc Symptoms

Problematic discs are at risk of compressing or interfering with nerve pathways. Therefore, they have a significant impact on nerve function. Fortunately, at West Suburban Wellness, our bulging or herniated disc chiropractic treatment focuses on the driving force of all bodily functions, the nerves.

Bulging or Herniated Discs Chiropractic Techniques

At West Suburban Wellness, our chiropractic treatments for bulging or herniated discs focus on reducing nerve compression and enhancing overall health to restore healthy function. Before we begin specific chiropractic therapies, we perform a detailed examination, including physical assessment, functional trial, health interview, and other tests.

Assessment for a suspected bulging or herniated disc involves testing the sensation, movement, and reflexes tied to the spinal nerves. We also ask our patients to walk, stretch, and perform a variety of movements to analyze how they move. If necessary, we might order scans or refer to a surgeon for a possible surgical consult. While we can treat many conditions with chiropractic care, we want the best treatment for our patients and are not afraid to refer out if that means a better outcome for any of our patients.

Therapeutic Exercises for Bulging or Herniated Discs

In addition to in-office exercises, we also prescribe custom therapeutic exercises for you to do at home. A home program is customized based on each patient’s needs but frequently includes gentle stretches and repositioning exercises. A prescribed activity program can also include strengthening exercises to solidify the muscles that support the spine.

Lifestyle Interventions for Pro-Disc Health Enhancement

At West Suburban Wellness, we believe that exercises, nutritional supplements, and other prescribed interventions lead to optimal health only when combined with a solid base of good nutrition, high-quality sleep, and satisfying social connections. While chiropractic interventions are proven to be helpful, they won’t do much good if the body doesn’t have adequate fuel for performance or rest for rebuilding itself. Our lifestyle interventions form the heart of our approach to promoting disc health.

Help for Bulging or Herniated Discs is Here

Bulging or herniated discs can become extremely painful. They can also cause loss of function, lost wages, and sleepless nights. If you or a loved one suffers from this condition, we want you to know that here at West Suburban Wellness, we provide scientifically researched bulging or herniated disc chiropractic treatment that brings patients relief. Please give us a call if you have any questions or would like to schedule a disc injury consultation.

Chiropractor at West Suburban Wellness adjusting patient

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1127 S Main St
Lombard, IL 60148

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