A bulging or herniated disc occurs when an intervertebral disc, which serves as a cushion between the vertebrae, loses its typical shape and compresses a spinal nerve. To understand what a bulging or herniated disc is, let's dive into what a intervertebral disc is. An intervertebral disc has two main parts: an outer shell of fibrous cartilage (the annulus fibrosis) and an inner jelly-like material (the nucleus pulposus)(1). The outer wall can become weakened for a variety of reasons. Excessive strain can rupture the annulus fibrosis. Poor diet and exercise habits can also weaken the disc. But for this blog lets touch upon poor movement and technique when lifting. Because that’s how most injuries occur in the weight room.
Most injuries that occur in the weight room are due to poor movement and technique when lifting. Over time poor technique creates tiny amounts of trauma to your body that eventually accumulate and lead your body over the proverbial ‘tipping point’ into injury. Have you ever heard of kinesiopathologic model? Most likely not. This model has a fancy name but the idea behind is key to fixing your pain. Start by finding out what movement problems led to injury developing in the first place!
Regardless of the cause, once the tough shell of the disc is weakened or cracked, the soft gel of the nucleus can deform the disc. Sounds scary & painful but this isn’t the end all be all. Once the deformation occurs, the disc may sometimes irritate or pinch one or more spinal nerves, causing pain. IF your suffering from this seek medical attention! Physical therapy has been shown to reduce symptoms and pain of someone dealing with a bulging disc.
1. “Bulging Disc Surgery - Bulging Disc Symptoms and Causes.” North American Spine, northamericanspine.com/conditions/bulging-disc/.