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Chiropractic Care for Bulging Cervical Discs

Published Date: 
August 7, 2023
Woman suffering from bulging cervical disc grasping the back of her neck.

Chiropractic care is one of the most effective treatment options for bulging cervical discs. It’s safe, effective, and triggers very few, if any, side effects.

Some people might need surgery to treat a bulging cervical disc in severe cases. However, this is often not the case. Many non-invasive treatment options can ease the pain of a bulging disc and delay the need for surgery. Many of these treatments promote natural healing, so surgery is never needed.

In addition to treating cervical disc issues, chiropractic treatment is holistic. This means you gain other benefits, including improving the health of your bones, muscles, joints, and tissues.

Chiropractic treatment provides a treatment method that requires no medication. You can use it with other natural or pharmaceutical treatments, but chiropractic care promotes the body’s natural healing response.

Chiropractic care for a bulging cervical disc begins with assessing the damage. Your chiropractor also assesses the general health of your spine. This might include a variety of tests that determine muscle strength, reflexes, and range of motion.

Once the assessment is complete, the chiropractor designs a customized treatment plan to help you over several weeks or months. The plan targets specific issues you’re having and promotes overall health and well-being.

People who are generally healthy and dealing only with the bulging disc often heal without any additional treatment other than chiropractic care.

What Causes a Cervical Disc to Bulge or Protrude?

The small interconnected bones or discs of the spine protect soft tissue, nerves, and the spinal cord. Between each of these bones is a connective disc made of elastic tissue. These discs change when you bend or rotate to support friction between the bones. These discs sometimes dislodge, most often in the lower spine. This is known as a bulging or herniated disc.

The most common causes of a bulging disc include:

  • Poor posture
  • Lifting heavy items without proper form
  • Age
  • Overweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Intervertebral disc disease

How likely someone is to experience a bulging or herniated disc is related to the degeneration of their tissue. Those whose inner soft tissue (nucleus pulposus) degenerates first are less likely to have a problem than those whose outer support layer (annulus fibrosus) deteriorates first.


Symptoms of a bulging disc include:

  • Neck pain that radiates into the shoulders and back
  • Pain during movement
  • Shoulder, arm, and finger numbness
  • Reduced range of motion

The severity of the symptoms depends on the amount of pressure on the nerve.

Bulging disc pain can come and go. It usually improves with rest. However, reducing pain doesn’t necessarily mean the problem has gone away. Chiropractic care can help you manage pain, but it also promotes healing.

Cervical Disc Protrusion Treatment Options

Treatment options for cervical disc protrusion include:

Young man holding his upper and lower back in pain.
  • Ice or heat therapy: Applying ice or heat for up to 20 minutes reduces inflammation and alleviates pain.
  • Cervical traction: This device is attached to the head and gently lifts and stretches the cervical spine, reducing pressure on the nerves and discs.
  • Massage therapy: Gentle massage relieves blood flow, loosens tight muscles, and promotes relaxation.
  • Chiropractic care: Chiropractors use various treatment methods to ease the discomfort of a bulging cervical disc, including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

Treating Cervical Disc Pain with Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is one of the most effective non-invasive treatment options for dealing with a bulging cervical disc. In addition to providing pain relief, chiropractic encourages the body’s natural healing response.

Treatments a chiropractor uses to treat a bulging disc include:

Flexion Distraction

This is a spinal manipulation technique. It minimizes the pressure on the nerves. It also helps increase spinal movement and ease neck, arms, legs, and lower back discomfort. In addition to treating bulging discs, it’s also effective for dealing with sprains, strains, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, and arthritis.

To undergo this treatment, you lie on a specially designed table that stretches your spine. During the stretch, the chiropractor uses light pressure to manipulate the disc. This promotes fluid circulation and moves the disc back into place.

Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression uses a traction table to stretch the spine. This eases back and leg pain by creating negative pressure to move a bulging disc. It also boosts the flow of oxygen, fluid, and nutrients to promote faster healing.

Pelvic Blocking

This technique uses cushioned wedges placed on the sides of the pelvis to reposition the bulging disc naturally. This also alleviates pain in the back and hips.


Chiropractors utilize massage therapy to relieve muscle tightness around the compressed nerve. They use targeted deep-tissue massage, which increases circulation, promotes healing, and relieves muscle spasms. Massage also improves the range of motion. Sessions typically include manual joint stretching, too.

Influential Electrical Stimulation

This method uses low-frequency electrical currents to stimulate the cervical muscles.


Ultrasound sends waves into muscles to ease stiffness and pain.

In addition to the treatments used in-office, chiropractors also recommend therapeutic exercises patients can use at home to ease their discomfort and improve their range of motion. Many of these exercises are also great for improving overall health and preventing future problems with muscles, discs, and bones.

Woman lying on her back having her neck adjusted by a chiropractor.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Bulging Cervical Disc Pain

There are numerous benefits to choosing chiropractic care to treat a bulging cervical disc. These include:

  • Non-invasive approach
  • Non-pharmaceutical
  • Holistic
  • Promotes the body’s natural healing response
  • Safe
  • Immediate and long-term relief
  • Very few, if any, side effects

Working with a chiropractor familiar with treating bulging cervical disc issues can help you heal naturally. Chiropractors provide a safe, non-invasive, and effective option for people who want to delay or avoid surgery. It’s also a great way to manage pain and improve overall health.

Dr. Eric Neumann D.C.

Dr. Eric Neumann grew up in Alberta, Canada where he majored in Chemistry at the University of Calgary. During his time at University, he obtained licensure as a Massage Therapist. It was clear that hands-on healing would be his calling. After suffering multiple sport-related injuries he became interested in Chiropractic. Dr. Neumann graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in 2009. He has since specialized in the treatment and management of acute spinal injuries.

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