Bulging discs most frequently occur in the lumbar spine. In fact, cumulative data from reputable chiropractic studies has shown that L4 and L5 in particular are susceptible to stressors that enable bulging. These vertebrae shift and compress with stress and time, eventually bulging to a point that causes undeniable symptoms for the sufferer, including intense pain, limited range of motion, and mobility issues.
Bulging discs are nothing new for chiropractors, and are in fact one of the most common reasons patients initially seek treatment. Patients are frequently surprised, however, when they learn that adjustments are only a temporary solution for relief from a bulging disc. When shifted back into place, the truly arduous work of preventing re-bulging begins. And, after experiencing initial relief, many individuals are hesitant to understand the need for posterior chain strengthening.
At Ideal Spine, we see posterior chain adjustments and strengthening as immeasurably important in battling bulging lumbar discs. In restoring the lumbar spine’s curvature and strengthening its support system, we understand the opportunity to educate patients on the best possible maintenance for their spines.
Identifying the posterior chain
Many patients lack the terminological understanding of their spine. A bulging lumbar disc is simply “low back pain” in their mind. Trying to explain the posterior chain becomes a complex process.
Instead, it’s critical for chiropractors to help patients identify the catalysts for their bulging discs in terms of how the posterior chain works together. For example, a chiropractor may have a patient hold a squat until failure to illustrate weakness in the gluteal muscles, or attempt to touch their toes from a standing position to show inflexibility. By acting out certain movements and feeling the limitations of their body as identified by a chiropractor, it’s possible for patients to grasp the extent of their posterior chain beyond their low back.
Adjustments in the posterior chain
Remediating bulging discs begins with adjustments. Through palpitation and radiological imaging, chiropractors can determine which of the lumbar discs have bulged and to what extent. This determine the immediate course of treatment, which can include drop table adjustments to help shift vertebrae, as well as traction to alleviate compression and inflammation. Depending on the age of the patient, the severity of the bulge, or the catalyst for the condition, different adjustment techniques and timelines come into play.
Strengthening the posterior chain
When the immediate pain of a bulging disc has been addressed, chiropractors have the duty of recommending exercises and stretches that strengthen the support offered by the posterior chain. This will ensure the disc in question is able to realign appropriately and that future bulges are avoided.
Most often, strengthening is focused on the gluteal muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and low back, with occasional core strengthening recommended. Bolstering the strength of these muscle groups means better support for the entire lumbar spine and an ability to weather duress in a healthier capacity.
Some patients also benefit from yoga or targeted stretching of the posterior chain. This has the benefit of reducing stress in overworked muscles, while improving flexibility and mobility in key support systems.
Going beyond the bulge
Bulging discs cannot be ignored, but remediating their pain goes beyond simply alleviating pressure. To prevent recurring bulges or future lumbar pain, work needs to be done on the posterior chain. Adjusting, strengthening, and even stretching are all crucial follow-ups to chiropractic adjustment.
At Ideal Spine, we see chiropractic beyond the adjustment table. It’s why our chiropractors always leverage Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) recovery plans, to ensure every patient is getting the aftercare support their bodies demand.
Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.