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  • Adam R Whatley Osteopath

Disc Bulge (Spinal)

Updated: Mar 22


Disc bulges are slight protrusions of the nucleus into the deeper fibres of the annuals, causes a budge. Although there is typically little or no pain associated with a bulging disc, the affected disc may eventually suffer a protection or herniation - which is when the nucleus pushes through the damaged shell and cause pain and further complications. Bulging discs may also place pressure on nearby nerves, leading to serious discomfort and, in some cases, severe and chronic pain.

Spinal disc bulge Dynamic Osteopaths Solihull

If the inner fibres of the disc are damage the disc bulge will be present. If damage is in excess, then the outer fibres can be involved and this can causes inflammation and pain.


Most are caused by 2 common ways,

1) age-related degenerative changes. By the age of 30, our intervertebral discs have begun to degenerate to a certain degree. This degeneration can lead to inner fibres of the disc suffering with tears with repetitive micro trauma, particularly rotation.

2) traumatic injury can cause an annular tear. This, typically seen in sports such as gymnastics or weight lifting, and in people with strenuous occupations.


Often disc bulges and be asymptomatic, but if inflammation is involved the - Midline low back pain, with widespread muscular guarding (spasms). Pain is often worse when sitting compared to standing. Pain on coughing, sneezing, forward bending and lifting. In severe cases, like a disc prolapse, local nerve roots can become compressed.


If the disc injury is mild, then it often heals pretty fast with the correct treatment and advice. Conservative treatment is often sufficient for healing of most of the tears. However, if patient experiences a very bad disc injury and severe pain is felt, treatment may be longer established. Surgery is very rare and an absolute last resort of exhausting all other methods. Less than 3% of our patients here at Dynamic Osteopaths are referred for spinal surgery for disc tears.

  • The goal of conservative treatment is to provide pain relief, restore functional mobility as soon as possible with the long term goal of working preventaitive of reoccurrence of disc herniation.

  • Disc injuries are relative to neck also.

  • Conservative treatment sometimes includes pain medications or NSAIDs like ibuprofen, naproxen alongside osteopathic treatment and physical therapy. Also, preventative exercise.

Exercises For Annular Tear

It is important to stay relatively active alongside appropriate rest for healing of the annular tear. Discs respond to movement. So, it is important to do some low impact exercises under the guidance of your osteopath, such as:

  • Walking

  • Lying knee hugs

  • Swimming (when tolerated)

Spinal disc bulge Dynamic Osteopaths Birmingham

Further specific exercises (below) can be adopted when tolerated

  • Therapy ball can be used to strengthen the core muscles

  • Exercising on an elliptical trainer

  • Patient can also use a recumbent stationary bike for exercising the muscles of the legs


01564 330773

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