T Nation

Bulging Disk?


I have been having problems with my lower back, which is in turn aggravating my sciatic nerve. My doctor thinks it is sciatica, but without an MRI he is just guessing. I can't get the MRI until after I complete physical training(which i am now finished with), And accupuncture(which I have not started yet). To make a long story short. My question is. If it is a bulging disk will it ever correct itself?


What's up with acupuncture? You don't need it for this.

  1. Yes, probably bulged. Probably L5 Disc.

  2. It will correct itself given proper stretching therapy and rest. Sleep on the floor....I'm not kidding. If you have a soft bed toss it! Right now you need to sleep on the hardest surface possible.


The bulge will never actually correct itself, from what doctors have told me, and the disc I bulged 7 years ago is still bulging, as I had an MRI recently and saw so. However, it now brings no pain. Sciatica from bulging discs will settle down, but you have to be patient, and careful. It took me 5 months and 10 months respectively to get over my two disc injuries.


I'm not exactly sure why he wants to do accupuncture? What kills me is rather than do an MRI and treat the problem they treat the symptoms and waist time.


Did you ever return to doing squats or Dead lift?


What caused the disk to inflame? Pelvic tilt i.e.; stomach muscles weak, one leg shorter than other, even a hurt toe can cause a misalignment at the base of the spine_
spinal curve i.e.; muscles stronger on one side of back than other, your job does it require repetitive motion with your back slightly bent.
You see where I'm going with this, your doctor is only going to treat the symptoms of the problem, not the root cause, ask for a spinal and pelvic alignment evaluation. If your car has a bad alignment your tires wear out, same thing with your body, if your bones don't move in harmony the joints wear out or become damaged. You need more information on the "WHY" not just treatment for the pain.
The acupuncture is probably for pain management


This question is probably best directed to someone like EC or MR - especially the part about the rehab of these babies.

Get the MRI done and find out the cause of the sciatica. Irriation of the nerve can be caused by many things, including a bulging disc. Once you know what the problem is and what caused it, you can get a proper rehab program designed for it. Until you know what the problem is you are just guessing, which is not smart whe it comes to your spine. Or anything, really.


question any one here who recovered from back injury doing squats etc ?


After my first disc injury, I returned to squats and deadlifts after one year. I didn't do any heavy lifts for another year though. Then I got my squats and deadlifts up to about 450 last year just before my second disc injury. Now, I have just started squatting again, but I think history shows my spine is not as strong as my legs, so have to try to control myself, and do no ME lower body work anymore.


I ruptured my l5 and had surgery. I do squats, but have recently felt some sciatic nerve twinges. I am doing lunges and extensions for a while.


i got two bulging discs yoga for the back and power yoga has really worked miracles for me.i still have severe tightness in my left leg and foot.when i practise for a couple days i feel alot better


I have a level two spondylolitic spondylolisthesis (try saying that quickly) and do both squats and deadlifts (and good mornings). Occasionally my back gives trouble, but mostly it is OK. Getting orthotics helped a great deal for me, correcting posture & pelvic alignment. Lifting has helped also by strengthening core muscles.




That was exactly my point in one of my previous posts. Any treatment my doctor prescribes is some what useless until I get an MRI to find out the problem, but until I go through those steps he won't authorize an MRI. Waist of time , and money.


thanks for the feedback everyone.


I am a 23 year old competitive gymnast and I started developing some back pain over three years ago, mainly during tumbling type stuff. About 15 months ago I was told to stop tumbling/vault...essentially stop using my legs with the purpose of calming down the back pain. Over the next few months I was put on numerous rehab plans and protocols, all of which did pretty much nothing. This past fall, almost a year ago now, I was diagnosed with a spondylolysis of the lumbar spine...basically a stress fracture in L5. This isn't uncommon for gymnasts and typically they would throw you in a brace for a few months and restrict a lot of activity. However, they didn't do that; they put me on another rehab plan and continued to restrict my lower limb activity. This past March I was also found to have a few buldging discs, L3-L5. This didn't really change things too much as my season was coming to a close in early April and these weren't bothering me too bad.

After season, I decided to head out on my own rehab plan. I figured 6 or 7 months was long enough for the spondy to heal and began using and working my legs/core a lot. I also focused on correctly my anterior pelvic tilt which was contributing to the disc problems; so I started doing lots of extension work and stretching out some tight areas. I also incorporated squats, deadlifts, and other accessory exercises, all of which I had never done before. After only 3 weeks of my rehab protocol, my legs and back felt better than they have in the past 3 years. I noticed a significant difference doing skills as well where my body felt much more controlled and together. My legs, which had basically withered away into useless extraneous masses, now have some good muscle and definition. Now I can tumble, run, and lift almost unrestricted...I am not totally confident in my back yet, but am getting there.

Anyway, yes, I believe that squats, deadlifts, and leg/back work played a large part in correcting my back problems.


I have a bulging disc right now L-5 S-1-2 1/2 months now-since it was diagnosed properly-by my cervical Chiropractor-they know what they're doing-he's seen 'em a hundred times. I didn't opt for an MRI-too long a wait in Canada and too expensive. I

've had real success with my Cervical Chiro. and I'm seeing a CHEK Practitioner-helped me with my core strength and flexibility-something I've done off and on for years(more "off" than "on"-obviously) and of latetly been using an inversion table-Wow! what a difference that has made-I use it a little differently than just hang there-ask me if you want to know.

I've been told it WILL get better-already has-tons! The disc has to sit "undisturbed" for two years to be healed-just be smart-LOTS of ice-two to three times a day. You have to modify your worouts a bit- LOTS of Chin ups an Dips -t-r-a-c-t-i-o-n-does wonders!
Hope that helps,
Yours in fellow pain-but not for long,

P.S. Here's a link a guy off ebay gave me (from T-Nation) Thanks Zach!



All this made me hopefull I have a problem with L3 i think it is and am due for mri in september .. Occasionaly i still go crooked ( tilt to left or roght aprox 20 degrees) but since june ( start of working out ) i have been a lot better on the whole


Thanks, thats a big help.