fbpx Bulging & Herniated Disc Chiropractic Treatment Techniques
Bulging & Herniated Disc Chiropractic Treatment Techniques

Chiropractic care is a non-invasive, safe, and effective option for restoring misaligned vertebrae and treating pain associated with a bulging or slipped (herniated) disc. Bulging and herniated discs are caused by too much force being exerted on any one part of the spine. Between each vertebrae is a rubbery cushion, or intervertebral disc, that acts like a shock absorber taking the brunt of activity. As we age those discs lose their elasticity, begin to weaken from degeneration, and become susceptible to injury.  

Intervertebral discs are composed of a tough, rubbery outer membrane (annulus) surrounding a soft, jellylike center (nucleus). A bulging disc is when the outer annulus begins to bulge out of the vertebral space. A herniated disc, often called a slipped disc, occurs when some of the nucleus pushes out through a tear in the annulus to irritate the surrounding tissues and nerves. Herniated discs are more likely to cause pain because they generally protrude further than a bulging disc and impact nearby nerve roots. 

Bulging & Herniated Disc Chiropractic Treatment Techniques - Figure

Common symptoms relating to bulging or herniated discs:

  • Local or referred pain. Depending on the location of the herniated disc, you may feel pain in the neck, mid-back, lower back, or sacrum. For instance, if you have a herniation between your L4-L5 (low-back, lumbar region) pain may refer to the buttocks, thigh, and calf. 
  • Numbness or tingling. Due to irritation of the nerve, people with a herniated disc often have localized or referred numbness, tingling, and/or radiating pain. 
  • Weakness. Muscle weakness can occur due to the compromised nerve(s). An example would be a loss of hand grip-strength due to a herniated disc in the neck. 

Bulging and herniated discs can be treated by chiropractors through skeletal, muscular, and myofascial manipulations. The following treatment techniques show how a chiropractor near you can help restore function and alleviate pain.

How Can a Chiropractor Help a Bulging or Herniated Disc?

Chiropractors perform a physical examination and take digital images (x-rays or an MRI) to diagnose the specific type of disc problem you are experiencing. In addition to the medical analysis, they factor in your daily habits, physical activity levels, and health history to better understand your total-body health so that they can create an effective, personalized treatment plan. 

Spinal Adjustments

Your chiropractor can correct misaligned vertebrae and herniated discs that are putting pressure on nearby nerves. Biomechanical adjustments can lessen pain associated with compression, ease muscle spasms, promote nerve function, and restore mobility. Depending on your level of discomfort and specific impingement, a chiropractor can help you find  long term relief. 

Chiropractic Traction Therapy

A common cause of herniation is spinal compression, whereby the discs between the vertebrae become thinner and pinch the nerves. Chiropractors can use traction to stretch, realign, and give more space within the vertebral column to alleviate the affected nerves. The purpose is to reverse the effects of gravity on the spine and aid in realignment post injury or accident.

Chiropractor vs Osteopath for Bulging or Herniated Disc Pain?

Chiropractors pay a great deal of attention to the biomechanics of the spine. As a result they have expertise on how its structure and function affects the neurological and musculoskeletal systems. They treat pain and help restore mobility and function through controlled, and specific force applied to the joints or muscles. Most chiropractors have additional training in supportive musculoskeletal and myofascial therapies, such as ART® and the Graston Technique® as well.  

Similar to chiropractors, osteopaths believe that spinal health influences our overall health. By addressing alignment issues we can optimize our nervous system, improve blood flow to the body, and relieve pain. Osteopaths focus on how all body systems are interrelated vs focusing primarily on the spine. Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) practitioners are able to prescribe medications and treat a broader range of problems over a longer period of time. 

So which do you see for a bulging or herniated disc? Since chiropractors and osteopaths share similar philosophies, both can help. We suggest making an appointment with a chiropractor near you to learn how they can alleviate pain associated with a bulging or herniated disc.


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