After some time of sustained back pain, you finally received the diagnosis of a bulging disc, and you don’t really know if that makes you happier or not. You might be considering seeing a chiropractor or a physical therapist, or maybe you’ve already done that, and the next available option is surgery. But regardless of your treatment choices, a question always comes to mind: Is it possible to treat a bulging disc at home without going through major problems.
In this article, you will find helpful advice you can apply at home without any special equipment or skill. It is meant to help you whether you’re currently under treatment or have not yet started one.
Understand your condition
It is common to feel confused about spinal health terms, and many people would not understand exactly what a bulging disc is and how is it different to a herniated disc. In simple words, a bulging disc results from excessive pressure that forces the disc to protrude outward.
On the other hand, herniated discs are caused by an opening on the disc’s cartilage. Bulging discs are far more common, and in many cases, they are not diagnosed because they often go unnoticed with very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
Thus, bulging discs are more common and may not be severe enough to require urgent treatment. Instead, most cases respond pretty well to home measures and a natural approach.
The importance of physical activity
Overweight, obesity and sedentary behavior are the perfect mix to get a bulging disc and make it worse as the time goes by. Remaining seated for a very long time will increase the pressure in your spine and the chance of getting a bulging disc, especially if you’re too heavy. And if you already have this condition, weakness in your back muscles will cause an accelerated progression of the symptoms. That’s why increasing your physical activity can be useful as a preventative and therapeutic measure.
Of course, you need to listen to your body to know your own limits and do not force and overstrain yourself. Instead, you can start by performing some stretching and core-strengthening exercises. They will give extra protection to your back muscles and improve your flexibility. If you feel you can do a bit more, try a few bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, planks, or pull-ups if you’re a bit more advanced. But do not overdo, and try to stay as simple as possible, asking your physician or physical therapist if you want to go a step further.
Even if you’re not able to perform too many exercises, walking is a simple yet effective approach to increase your fitness levels, reduce your weight, and strengthen your body. Try to increase your daily walking distances, which is possible if you get a fitness tracker app on your phone for extra motivation.
Good posture and a good night’s rest
Posture is essential for your spinal health, especially if you suffer from certain conditions, such as bulging discs. If you can’t help but remain seated behind your desk all day long, keeping a good posture is definitely something you can do to improve your condition. Every 30 minutes stand up, do some stretching, walk a bit, and perform a few exercises for your lower back to maintain a good posture.
A good posture is also essential for your sleep. Avoid using too many pillows or buy one specially designed for back problems. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep, one that makes you feel well-rested after you wake up. Resting is also vital if you’re increasing your physical activity. We don’t want to add muscle contractions and muscle injuries to your back problem, so avoid overtraining and rest enough between workouts.
Dietary advice for a bulging disc
Your diet has a great deal to do with your bulging disc symptoms. Similar to anti-inflammatory medications, if you include more anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, you will be less likely to experience painful exacerbations.
There are certain foods you will better avoid, such as refined and processed foods, sugary foods and drinks, and alcohol. Keep a healthy diet, one that does not contribute to being overweight. Obesity is not only putting extra burden to your spine, but it also involves systemic inflammation as well, which will contribute to weakening your joints and muscles, making it harder to improve your symptoms.
Include more green leafy vegetables in your diet, try to consume more lean meats such as turkey or skinless chicken, eat more fish and include extra virgin olive oil to your salad dressings to get your daily amount of healthy fats. Omega 3 supplements would also be advisable, as these essential fatty acids display an impressive anti-inflammatory potential that will likely help you improve your symptoms.
Home measures to control your symptoms
There are still a few recommendations you can apply at home to improve your symptoms or as a part of your recovery. It may seem too simple, but heat and ice therapy are useful to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and control painful symptoms. You can alternate cold packs and warm compresses on your back area, especially in the painful area.
Massage therapy is also effective to improve your blood circulation, reduce muscle tightness, and improve your symptoms. You can perform a few self-massages on your back, use a foam roller, or get an extra hand from someone else.
As a final piece of advice, remember home remedies are great, but they will be even better when guided by a professional. Ask your physician about your symptoms and he will be able to give you recommendations adapted to your current condition.
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