Image showing the different forms of disc injury such as disc bulge

Disc Bulge – How can Osteopathy Help? 

Disc injuries such as a disc bulge or herniation are a common presentation we encounter at Holistic Bodyworks and can affect anyone who does repetitive tasks from desk workers to labourers and even mothers! So this week’s blog explains a bit more about them.

Disc Injuries

Firstly, the Basics of your spine  

 Your spine is composed of vertebra, which are typically fused in adults.

  • 7 Cervical Vertebrae
  • 12 Thoracic Vertebrae
  • 5 Lumbar vertebrae
  • 5 sacral vertebrae
  • the coccyx also known as your tail bone

The different sections of the spine accomodate the different movements or activities that our body carries out. Because of this the sectioned vertebra have different;

  • shapes
  • sizes
  • angles of joints

that changes the stresses and strains that are placed on it. 


So where does your disc fit in the spine? 

  • The discs area located between each vertebrae
  • They are known as intervertebral discs. 
  • They are fluid-filled sacs that act as a shock absorber with movements and separates the bones.  


How Does a Disc get injured?  

Chronic Injuries:

Some discs are more prone to injury with generalised wear and tear from every day activities due to their position within the spine and the stresses placed on it. They can decrease in size over time as they begin to dehydrate or degenerate. You may experience some pain or stiffness as a result of this.

Acute Injuries:

When there is more of an acute injury it is usually a buildup of strain and a sudden movement that can cause acute pain, stiffness, muscle spasms and may require a multi-modal approach to managing the pain experienced.

Common presentation to injuring discs in an acute setting are;

  • bending forward
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • quick movements
  • lifting

You may experience localised or referred;

  • deep ache
  • sharp, knife-like pain
  • burning nerve pain
  • changes in sensation, like pins and needles or numbness
  • weakness with movements

What are the types of Disc Injury?


You may have heard of a Disc Bulge. There are different terminologies based on the different injuries that can occur to the disc.  

Disc Herniation: 

  • is the displacement of the disc material beyond the normal confines of the disc but it is less than 25% of the circumference

Disc Bulge: 

  • is part of the disc material protrudes out and displaces the outer fibers of the disc and involves more than 25% of the circumference of the disc. 

Disc Sequestration:

  • is extruded disc material that has no continuity with the disc that is has protruded from, so the bulged disc material is separated from the disc.

Disc Desiccation:

  • refers to the dehydration or degenerative changes through the disc.


What Can Osteopaths do?  


  • Your Osteopath will take a detailed history and conduct a thorough examination to correctly diagnose your disc injury.
  • Osteopathic hands-on treatment may be able to assist in decreasing muscle tension, pain and increase joint range of motion/movement and flexibility.
  • We are able to answer any questions you may have about your disc injury
  • Prescribe at-home advice to help manage your pain, which may include consulting a pharmacist for pain relief

We will also give you;

  • Postural advice for at home and work
  • Ergonomic advice with lifting and bending
  • Provide longer-term rehabilitation plan to reduce the risk of re-injury
  • At Holistic Bodyworks we also offer Clinical Pilates, which may be able to assist with your recovery.

Our rehabilitation program will range from;

  • stretching
  • moving
  • strengthening
  • things to avoid doing to decrease the strain going through your back

This is tailored for individuals on a case by case scenario and your clinical presentation.  



 If you are experiencing stiffness, muscle tension or pain or would like to know more on how we may be able to assist you, contact the clinic today to make an appointment or book online with one of our friendly and experienced Osteopaths or Myotherapists for an assessment. 


Call (03) 9570 3388