In the last blog, we spoke about the anatomy of lower back pain and why they are so common. In this blog, we’re going to dive into a common condition; disc bulges, and what you can do to help yourself through the pain. First things first, let’s find out specifically what is a disc bulge?
Disc bulges are quite common, and increasing number of people are exploring different ways of alleviating this problem on daily basis. According to OrthoFracs, 56% of adults have disc bulging and MRI scans revealed that between 20% and 35% of working age adults in Australia have asymptomatic disc herniation. Furthermore, most lumbar disc herniations occur between ages of 30 and 50.
What is a disc bulge or a herniated disc?
Disc bulge is a frequent spinal injury and thousands of people suffer from this condition. In some cases, the affected person doesn’t even know there’s anything wrong until the condition starts to impinge on a nerve root in a spinal column. Bulging disc can cause excruciating pain, loss of range of motion and many other uncomfortable effects. A herniated disc occurs when the gelatinous, soft inner core of a spinal disc leaks out through the disc’s weakened outer layers, and affects nearby nerves.
What are benefits of stretching?
Although stretching is the last thing you’d want to do when experiencing pain associated with herniated disc, this type of physical activity can be extremely helpful. In fact, stretching is more beneficial than bed rest. Why? It’s because spending a couple of days in bed might relieved the pain, but once you try to get up, the pain will worsen. Benefits of stretching include:
- Reduces risk of injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- Reduces chances of soft tissue injuries
- Reduces risk of experiencing soreness
- Improves mobility and flexibility of joints.
3 stretching exercises you can do
Now that you know the benefits of stretching, below are three simple stretching exercises which may be beneficial for back pain.
Seated chair stretch
- Sit on a chair with another chair across from you
- Rest one foot on the ground and make sure the other foot is on the another chair
- Straighten the back and lean forward over the extended leg
- Once a stretch is felt in the upper, rear thigh, hold that position for 15 to 30 seconds
- Switch legs and repeat at least 3 times per leg
This exercise is ideal for people with limited mobility.
Towel hamstring stretch
- Lay onto the floor with one leg flat
- Tighten the abdominal muscles while lifting the opposite leg, keeping it straight at the same time
- Wrap a towel or belt around the instep of the elevated leg, using it to pull the leg back towards you
- Once you feel the stretch, hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds
- Switch legs and repeat at least 3 times per leg.
Wall hamstring stretch
- Lay on the floor near the corner of a wall or a door jamb
- Leave one leg straight on the ground and place the other against the wall, bent at the knee
- Slowly straighten the leg against the wall while keeping your hips on the floor
- Hold your leg stretched against the wall for about 15 to 30 seconds
- Repeat 2 to 3 times for each leg.
When performing these exercises, make sure the stretch does not cause you any pain or discomfort. Also, not all stretches are beneficial to all lower back syndromes.
Chiropractic care and disc bulges
For many people chiropractic care is a good way of alleviating their disc bulges as chiropractic promotes holistic approach to healing. If you decide to visit your chiropractor for this problem here’s what you can expect:
- Your chiropractor will check vital signs, take a full medical history, and ask you various questions all of which are necessary for adequate treatment
- Chiropractor will perform examination, perform neurological and orthopaedic tests, posture etc. In some cases x-ray and MRI can be ordered
- According to results of different tests and symptoms you experience, chiropractor will make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan
- Treatment plan involves adjustments, exercises, ultrasound therapies, traction, manipulation under anesthesia, flexion-distraction technique etc.
- In a case your bulging disc is indicated, the chiropractor will use low-force techniques to manipulate the spine
- Chiropractic care also involves closely following and monitoring your condition and making adjustments along the way (if necessary).