What is a Disc herniation / Disc bulge

Disc herniation (aka Disc bulge) is a common condition that causes radicular pain. It may cause

Kim Le

April 8, 2023

Disc herniation (aka Disc bulge) is a common condition that causes radicular pain.  It may cause symptoms like a burning or stinging sensations radiating down the lower extremity.

So what is Disc herniation? Its a condition in which the nucleus pulposus (the jelly like substances between the vertebrae acting like the spines cushion) is displaced between any of the vertebrae causing, in severe cases, pain, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs depending on where the displacement is located.


Majority of disc herniation occurs within the lower back, but also the neck. Signs and symptoms varies as to where the herniation is located and which nerve it is compressed and where it radiates.

Herniation in the Low back: herniation is typically in the lower back when legs are affected, mostly in the buttocks, the back of the calves, thighs and foot.

Herniation in the neck: Pain would radiate down to the shoulder and arm. Pain can be aggravated by cough, sneeze associated with sharp and/or burning sensation.

Numbness/burning/tingling: Most symptoms presented with disc herniation is presented with radiating numbness or tingling from the affected nerve.

What are the causes and how to prevent it?

Disc herniation usually occurs with age and how an individuals lifestyle can accelerate the risk of disc herniations.  Risks include but are not limited to:

Age:  When an individual ages the nucleus pulpous goes through wear and tear and slowly ages along with the body. That causes the nucleus pulpous to decrease in size and depending on their lifestyle it may or may not accelerate the progress.

Occupation : jobs that demand physical labour tend to have a much higher risk of disc herniation. Repetitive heavy lifting, bending, twisting motion causes constant strain on the nucleus, accelerating the rate of nucleus degeneration

Smoking: Smoking increases oxidative stress to the body. Indirectly affecting the health of the vertebral discs thus making the disc more prone to damage

Weight : Having excess body weight puts more load on the disk. Dealing with increased weight on a daily basis puts the body under a lot of stress.


Exercise: Strengthen the surrounding back muscles to reduce strain and circulate blood flow. Losing excessive body weight will help reduce the constant strain the body goes through daily.

Posture: Reduces everyday body weight strain and distribute weight evenly throughout the body rather than having the body weight pinpointed into the one area and causing strain

Seeing a chiropractor / physiotherapist:Seeing a practitioner can help you identify how your body is moving or lack of movement that may be causing or aggravating the disc bulge. It is always a good idea to consult your Sydney chiropractor or physical therapist to make sure you are on the right path to recovery.

If you have any further questions ab out how we can help with Back pain and sciatica, head over to our Contact Us page, or book in now to make an appointment. 

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