Spinal discs are shock absorbing rings of glycoprotein and fibrocartilage that separate the vertebral bodies of your spine and allow for movement in your spine. Bulging discs are more common in middle aged people. The lower part of your cervical spine is most susceptible to bulging discs at levels C5-C6 and C6-C7.
What are bulging discs?
A bulging disc is a frequent spine injury which happens to your intervertebral disc. There is a fluid component in the middle of the disc that moves and adjusts to accommodate pressures placed on the spine. Your nerves are what carry signals and messages from the brain to your body and vice versa and they run through the spinal cord. When the disc moves so that it places pressure on a nerve, this is what will produce the symptoms of a bulging disc.
What is the cause of a bulging disc?
A bulging disc is normally due to either:
- A pre-existing disc weakness
- A sudden increase in pressure through the disc causing the fibres of the disc to tear
Bulging discs can also come on without an exact cause.
What are the symptoms of bulging discs?
A bulging disc can cause a great amount of pain which can be felt in the neck, shoulders and arms. This can occur along with pins and needles down your arms and pain typically presents in this classical pattern.
There are a few different movements that can bring on the type of back pain associated with a bulging disc and often the back pain is aggravated by:
- Forward bending
- Sneezing or coughing
The degree of spinal disc injury varies significantly from mild bulges, slipped discs, a protruding disc to complete disc rupture and this degree of injury will affect the severity of your symptoms and the level of disability it causes.
How is bulging discs diagnosed?
Your physiotherapist can perform a series of special tests to identify nerve problems as part of a full objective assessment when you come for your first appointment. A CT or MRI scan can confirm the findings if necessary.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for bulging discs?
Following a thorough assessment, an individualised treatment plan can be devised based around your symptoms. Treatment for bulging discs often includes:
- Soft tissue massage
- Heat or ice therapy
- Joint mobilisations
- Joint manipulations
- Range of movement exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Postural exercises
- Anti-inflammatory advice
Benefit of physiotherapy for bulging discs?
Physiotherapy is important to help restore your normal movement, resolve your symptoms and can reduce the recovery time required allowing you to get back to your best as quickly as possible.
- Reduced pain
- Increased range of movement
- Increased function
- Increased strength
- A quicker return to work
- Prevention of re-injury