Bulging disc (also known as a slipped disc or disc herniation) is a common condition in which one or more vertebral discs protrude into the spinal column, compressing the nerves and causing pain, discomfort, limited mobility, and other unwanted symptoms. The good news is that most minor cases of bulging discs heal within just a couple weeks. The bad news, however, is that some of the more severe cases may persist indefinitely, becoming progressively worse without treatment.
What About Anti-Inflammatory Drugs?
While you can usually mask the pain – at least temporarily – with anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, this doesn’t treat the underlying cause of bulging disc. Many over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can damage the stomach and liver. Each year, tens of thousands of people have to seek medical treatment for problems associated with the use of these drugs.
How Massage Therapy Can Help
A safer and more effective treatment option for bulging disc is massage therapy, especially neuromuscular therapy. Going back to the basic anatomy of this condition, the vertebral disc consists a soft, sponge-like cartilage, surrounded by a tough membrane, and it acts as a cushion between the bones (vertebrae) of the spinal column. A bulging disc occurs when, if enough force is exerted onto it, this outer membrane presses onto the spine and creates irritation to the nerves which surround it. Sudden movements such as bending forward while twisting, or lifting something very heavy, may precipitate this situation.
Massage therapy can offer relief of bulging disc by treating the condition at its roots. Very often, imbalances in the skeletal structure, such as being “stuck” in a side-tilted position, may predispose one toward this injury, and/or result from it. A skilled neuromuscular massage therapist will analyze the posture and movement patterns presenting in the body and determine which muscles and other soft tissues are overloaded. Massaging these muscles can restore proper balance and symmetry to the posture, which can allow the bulging disc to migrate back to its normal position in the spinal column. The pressure against the spinal nerves often subsides, and very likely, the pain associated with it to goes away.
If you are thinking about seeking massage therapy for the treatment of your bulging disc, be sure to let the therapist know during your initial consultation. This will allow him or her to focus their techniques on the appropriate area, increasing the chance of a positive outcome. There are other treatment options available for bulging disc as well, such as spinal cord decompression and spinal adjustments.
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