Back Pain FAQ: Can I pop a Bulging Disc Back into Place?
Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 24, 2014
Bulging discs can be quite painful and cause a series of other problems if not treated correctly and effectively. As with most spinal conditions, there are surgical and non-surgical options. One of the most common questions we get from patients with back pain from bulging discs is “can’t you just pop my disc back into place?” The answer is not quite that simple.
What is a Bulging Disc?
A bulging disc occurs when a spinal disc protrudes into surrounding areas of the spine, such as the nerves. Often, bulging discs come with no symptoms at all. But sometimes they can be quite painful and inhibit physical activity.
A lot of people think (or hope) that a doctor can simply “pop” the bulging disc back into its rightful place, allowing them to walk out of the doctor’s office with a smile on their face, pain free. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. In theory the disc should be able to be popped back into its natural state, but it is very difficult to just “pop” a herniated disc back into place like a displaced gear. In fact, trying to pop a disc back into place can make the issue worse if the person doing the “popping” doesn’t know what they are doing.
Proper treatment for a bulging disc generally begins with conservative methods that do not require surgery. Non-surgical treatments can include physical therapy or bracing to try and gradually ease the bulging disc back into its rightful place.
When these conservative options fail, and there is still a lot of pain, a minimally invasive surgical procedure can be used to correct the bulging disc.
The most important take-away here is to see a qualified physician to diagnose your back pain and offer treatment options. If you have back pain from a bulging disc, do not have your friend try to force it back into place. This will likely increase, rather than relieve, your pain.