Herniated or Bulging Disc

A disc is a jelly like, fluid filled sac that acts as a cushion between the bones of your neck (vertebrae).  In younger adults, the center of the disc (nucleus) is held in place by many rings of the disc (picture a cross section of a tree trunk). With minor or major injuries, poor posture and strain, these rings can rupture, allowing a pressing outward of the disc nucleus. As the nucleus reaches the outer edges, the disc can begin to bulge, which in turn can rub and irritate nerves exiting your spine.

In more severe cases, the disc can become herniated, which further presses into the spaces where nerves are exiting. Symptoms can range from localized pain, to numbness/tingling to the shoulder, arm or hands. In more severe cases, complete lack of sensation, muscle weakness and paralysis of an area in the upper extremity can occur.

Changes in posture, strength and range of motion of the neck can all affect the positioning of the disc and how much bulging or herniation is occurring.

How our physiotherapists can help

The good news is that the majority of bulging and herniated discs can be treated with physiotherapy, without the need for surgery. By working with your medical history, symptoms and testing, our physiotherapists can determine what areas have been affected.  Spinal traction treatments can be used to help decompress your spine and relieve the pressure on your nerves.  Modalities, such as acupuncture, ultrasound or electrical stimulation may be used to reduce pain, muscle spasm or inflammation. Our therapists will work with you to recover lost strength and range of motion. In addition, we will train you on the correct exercises to maintain good posture and reduce the risk of future episodes. Book an appointment today to discover how we can help relieve your pain and restore your function!