General | October 10, 2021

How Do I Manage A Bulging Disc?

Dr Michael Katiforis-OSTEOPATH-Double Bachelor of Health Science/Applied Science (Osteopathy)

First of all, we need to understand what a disc is.

So, what is it?

An intervertebral disc is a cushion of fibrocartilage that sits between two vertebrae in the spinal column. The discs allow for the spine to be more flexible and act as shock absorbers to prevent the vertebral bodies from rubbing against each other.

How does an intervertebral disc become bulged?

Bulging discs can occur due to age-related degeneration, or when excessive force/ load is placed on the disc, causing it to tear open. The disc becomes weakened and flattens, causing it to stick out from the spinal column. This can occur due to long periods of heavy, awkward lifting.

Who do I speak to about managing a disc bulge?

Consulting with an osteopath would be beneficial in your management of a disc bulge. Osteopaths can educate you on your condition, advise you on strategies to prevent further aggravation and help you manage your symptoms in order to improve your quality of life.

What are some ways I can manage my disc pain?

1. Improve your body mechanics. Education and advice on posture, proper lifting techniques in order to prevent re-aggravation. Avoiding movements that involve bending, lifting and twisting can be beneficial during the acute phase. Sitting for long periods should be avoided also.

2. Low impact exercises. Engage in activities such as stretching, walking, swimming, cycling, yoga and pilates which can aid in improving circulation and healing.

3. Strengthening the core musculature. Our abdominals, gluteal, leg and back muscles all contribute to supporting the back. Engaging in exercises that look to strengthen these muscles, which can help ease the pain you may be experiencing from a bulging disc.

4. Manage your weight. Your weight can play a role in this condition. People who are overweight can be more prone to back pain due to the extra stress being placed on the discs.

5. Make some workplace modifications. Setting up your desk as optimally as possible for your posture. Even investing in a sit to stand desk can help reduce the pressure exerted on the back when sitting for long periods.

6. Investing in the right pillow and bed. Sleep is an important factor when it comes to healing. Having a comfortable, supportive bed can help improve sleep and help reduce back pain.

7. Having a support system. Disc pain can lead to stress and depression. Interact with family and friends who make you smile in order to help maintain your mental health.

8. Develop a stress relief routine. Engage in activities that you enjoy and help you to relax.

9. Heat treatment. Applying heat can decrease tension of the musculature surrounding the disc.

If you have any questions regarding the management of a disc issue, please do not hesitate to speak to one of our friendly osteopaths at the clinic on 9747 0077.


1. Waxenbaum JA, Reddy V, Futterman B. Anatomy, Back, Intervertebral Discs. [Updated 2020 Aug 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan. Available from: