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What Are Bulging Discs, and How Do They Happen?

What Are Bulging Discs, and How Do They Happen?

Discs are circles of fibers that separate each spinal vertebra to absorb shock and help the spine move more fluidly. A bulging disc happens when a weakened or deteriorated disc swells through a crevice in the spine. Bulging discs typically occur in the lower back. The disc shifts out of its normal position, usually over an extended period of time.

There is little or no pain associated with bulging discs, but the structure could eventually suffer a herniation—its central nucleus may leak through the damaged outer layer and cause pain and other complications. A bulging disc can also put pressure on nearby nerves, which could cause chronic discomfort or severe pain.

Symptoms of a bulging disc include the following:

  • Pain/ tingling in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, or fingers
  • Trouble walking
  • Feeling your legs are heavy
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Pain in the upper back that radiates to the chest or stomach
  • Muscle spasms

Bulging discs also typically develop because of aging, wear and tear, injury, bad posture, and repetitive stress from occupational movement.

While some people use surgery to correct the most severe problems, others depend on noninvasive treatment such as chiropractic treatment. Chiropractors sometimes use spinal adjustment procedures to carefully evaluate spinal conditions to determine the actual cause of pain and the best treatments to use in respond. Chiropractors view the body as a collection of nerve pathways that start at the spine and travel through the spinal column. The body’s nerves run from the brain along the spinal cord, sending signals to the motor, sensory, and autonomic centers throughout the body. They will use a physical evaluation to help determine the source of the pain and whether the problem happened suddenly or gradually. When each vertebra is in the correct position, impulses can proceed without a problem. However, pain and other problems occur when this free pathway is blocked by an improperly aligned spine.

If a chiropractor finds any spinal subluxation, or a vertebra that isn’t aligned, he or she will recommend treating the area with a spinal adjustment, also known as spinal manipulation. During this treatment, chiropractors will place the patient in a specific position to target the affected area. Patients either lay face down on their sides, often on padded chiropractic tables. Using their hands, chiropractors will apply a controlled, sudden force to a joint. The goal is to push the joint beyond its normal range of motion in order to, with each treatment, gradually readjust the spine to prevent pain and achieve optimal health.

If you’re having mild, moderate, or severe spinal pain, contact our experienced Atlanta chiropractor. Dr. Nicole Essex is a graduate of one of the most renowned chiropractic institutions in the world, the Life University College of Chiropractic. She has also been certified by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and holds licenses in both Missouri and Georgia. To talk to her about your situation, call Georgia Accident Rehab Centers for a free consultation at (404) 620-4010.


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