What is a bulging disc?
A bulging disc happens when a spinal disc protrudes out of the normal space that it occupies in between vertebra and out into the spinal canal. A variety of painful symptoms can accompany a bulging disc if it compresses a nearby nerve root including pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and muscle spasms.
Massage therapy as bulging disc treatment
Massage therapy is considered an alternative, or holistic, treatment option for a bulging disc and other spine conditions. The benefits of massage therapy for a bulging disc include:
- Stimulate muscles
- Release acid and waste from the soft tissues
- Decrease pain
- Increase circulation and blood flow
- Elongate the spine
- Improve flexibility
- Help to reduce fluid retention
- Prevent muscle spasms
- Relax the muscles
- Increase range of motion for joints
- Help restore spinal alignment
A licensed masseuse or physical therapist will use techniques to help relax muscles and increase blood flow to the affected area and your entire body. While massage therapy won’t heal a bulging disc, it can help with the process and be a beneficial part of conservative treatment.
Before starting any treatment, it is a good idea to get clearance from your physician. Before starting therapeutic massage, check with your physician and make sure there are not any risk factors that would prevent you from using this treatment option. If at any point during a massage therapy session any pressure or motion causes pain, ask your therapist to avoid that area and move on to other areas of the body.
Conservative bulging disc treatment
Massage therapy can be an important part of a conservative treatment regimen for a bulging disc. In addition to massage therapy, a combination of conservative treatments can help to manage symptoms and relieve pain caused by a bulging disc. Conservative treatment for a bulging disc includes rest, heat and ice therapy, exercise and stretching, pain medication and physical therapy.
If conservative treatment options fail to control symptoms after a few months, talk with your physician about steroid injections or bulging disc surgery. It is important to properly treat a bulging disc because if left untreated, a bulging disc can lead to permanent nerve and muscle damage.