A bulging disc can cause pinched nerve pain and symptoms of sciatica — neither of which are very pleasant to live with. Not only can a bulging disc cause intense discomfort, but it can also lead to numbness and weakness in the hips and legs. These symptoms can make daily life a real challenge, especially if you lead an active lifestyle. If you’re currently struggling with a bulging disc, either due to a degenerative condition like osteoarthritis or physical trauma to the back, acupuncture can help. But just why exactly is acupuncture for bulging discs so effective?
Acupuncture reduces inflammation and encourages healing. It also changes the way your brain responds to pain. If you have a bulging disc, acupuncture can help that disc return to its proper place quickly and enable you to overcome the pain as you recover.
How acupuncture stops pain caused by a bulging disc
Discs in the lower lumbar region can become dislocated for a variety of reasons. In some cases, discs start to bulge due to a degenerative condition, like degenerative disc disease. Some patients suffer trauma during car accidents or sports injuries that dislocate these discs. Whatever the cause of your bulging disc, acupuncture can help.
Acupuncture’s major benefit is that it can help fight pain. It does this largely by reducing inflammation. As needles are inserted, this causes a dramatic increase in circulation to the surrounding tissues. Using orthopedic acupuncture to treat a bulging disc helps the body redirect valuable resources to the injury, enabling the body to heal itself.
Acupuncture encourages the body to pay more attention to an injured area, and this speeds up recovery — especially when it’s utilized in tandem with physical therapy. Used together, these therapies can help realign the discs in your spine. In mild cases, this can be achieved without surgery.
In addition to realigning the spine, acupuncture therapy can be used to reduce muscle tension caused by a bulging disc. When the spinal column becomes misaligned, other muscle groups must compensate for it. This leads to widespread musculoskeletal dysfunction and pain. By forcing overtaxed muscles to relax, acupuncture can improve your strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
How does acupuncture raise your pain threshold?
Acupuncture works on a physical level to control pain and inflammation. But it also works on a neurological level to essentially rewire your brain, desensitizing it to pain. Regular acupuncture sessions can change the way your body perceives pain, raising your pain threshold naturally.
Because acupuncture alters the pain response, it’s tremendously effective for treating a wide variety of conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ, migraines, and, well, just about everything else! That’s because acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins, modulating the pain response and making it much easier to bear.
Endorphins are feel-good chemicals our bodies produce when we engage in activities we enjoy, like laughing with our friends or eating our favorite foods. These chemicals are the body’s natural painkillers. They enable a certain amount of pain as if it weren’t even there. This is just another amazing way that acupuncture can help you manage your bulging disc pain.
Acupuncture also regulates serotonin. Another feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin helps us feel confident, relaxed, and happy. Because acupuncture enhances your mood on multiple levels, it can make your recovery much easier simply because it gives you a better outlook. When it comes to managing your pain, never underestimate the power of mind over matter!
How many acupuncture sessions will you need to treat a bulging disc?
How long you’ve been dealing with a bulging disc is the primary factor when it comes to determining how often you’ll need acupuncture treatments. In mild to moderate cases, especially those that are acute, bi-weekly sessions for a period of a few months are usually enough to help patients recover.
On the other hand, if your bulging disc is a chronic issue, perhaps the result of an old injury that never healed properly, then you’ll most likely benefit from regular treatment sessions. This way, you can address preexisting pain, and get a handle on future pain. Remember, regular sessions change the way your brain feels pain. So ongoing treatments can be highly beneficial in these cases.
That said, every patient is different. You may find you need more treatments, even if your symptoms are mild. Conversely, you may only require periodic treatments, even if your case is severe. Your acupuncturist will work with you to help you figure out how often you should receive acupuncture to get the results you’re looking for.
Can other treatments help heal your bulging disc?
Acupuncture is a great start if you’re trying to manage your bulging disc symptoms naturally. However, it’s worth mentioning that other types of treatments can be helpful, too. Sometimes, using a variety of treatment methods can speed up your recovery time.
Soft tissue mobilization, for instance, can often be used in tandem with acupuncture. This therapy can help us realign the spinal column and make you more comfortable. Dry needling and cupping are often useful, too, especially for treating tension in surrounding muscles that have had to work harder as a result of the bulging disc.
As you progress through your individualized treatment plan, certain therapies may become more useful than others. We’ll help guide you as to which therapies will be most likely to make a difference for you.
Scheduling your first appointment
At Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, many of our clients seek acupuncture therapy purely for its stress-reducing benefits. You don’t have to have a preexisting condition to reap the benefits of acupuncture. But if you are struggling with a condition, like a bulging disc, acupuncture can give you a serious boost as you begin your path to recovery.
If you’d like to learn more about acupuncture and the other alternative treatment options that we have to offer, get in touch with us today. Our friendly staff will answer any questions you may have, and help you book an appointment.
During your first visit, we’ll ask for a summary of your health history, and work with you to create realistic goals, as well as a path forward that allows you to meet them. Make your health your number one priority and give us a call today.