Bulging Disc vs Herniated Disc
The most common cause for a bulging disc is age. When you get older the cartilage could dry out or stiffen and a part of the outer layer of your disc will starts to bulge out. If the bulging disc comes in contact with the spinal nerve, the condition can cause discomfort and pain. A bulging disc doesn't always affect the entire perimeter of a disc, but at least a quarter if not half of the disc's circumference is usually affected. Only the outer layer of tough cartilage is involved.
A herniated disc means that the outer layer of the disc gets ruptured or cracked and the inner and softer part gets, so-to speak, squeezed out. A herniated disc is likely to cause more pain since it usually extends further out and therefore is more likely to irritate nerve roots. Symptoms of a herniated disc include back pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or a leg.
5 exercises to avoid with a bulging disc
- Leg lifts
- Repetitive forward bending at the waist
- Overhead weightlifting – as this can put compressive forces on the spine
- High impact aerobic activities – such as sprinting and jumping
Effective physical therapy treatment
- Mckenzie technique: This is one of the most popular methods physical therapists use. It assesses how pain affects a patient when they move a certain ways, like flexing forward or extending backward. It can determine which strengthening exercises would benefit the patient the most.
- Traction: The goal of traction is to reduce the effects of gravity on the spine. By gently pulling apart the bones, the intent is to reduce the disc herniation.
- Core stability: Many people don't realize how important a strong core is to their spinal health. Your core (abdominal) muscles help your back muscles support your spine. When your core muscles are weak, it puts extra pressure on your back muscles.
- Flexibility: Learning proper stretching and flexibility techniques will prepare you for aerobic and strength exercises. Flexibility helps your body move easier by getting rid of stiffness.
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