Bulging disc - anybody suffer from this?

So apparently I’ve got a bulging (bulged?) disc in my lower back - went back to work today after a week off (doctor-ordered) and ended up going home after about three hours because my back was killing me (it had felt better after resting for so long). I’ve got another appointment tomorrow - she’s got me on prescription-strength Motrin, which is about as useful as a breath mint, but unfortunately I’m allergic to Vicodin, which she was originally going to prescribe. Anybody have experience with this affliction? Any treatments that helped you I should speak to my doctor about? It’s getting a bit depressing lying around all day.

I have a post going about my ongoing battle with sciatica. It sucks. I’ve been taking max dosage of Tylenol and Aleve, they attack pain differently and so can be combined. Gotta look carefully, there’s Tylenol in everything nowadays.

Do the lumbar stabilization exercises, don’t go overboard on stretching and take care of it now. I wish I could have caught mine before the disc herniated.

Ugh. Sorry to hear it. Yeah, I’m lucky in that at least I went in for treatment early.

Did they do an MRI to determine at which level the herniation is at and its severity, or are they just attributing low back pain to a herniated disc? More often, low back pain is of muscular origin and will self-resolve with little more intervention than some brief rest, NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen or naprosyn) and then some attention to posture, body mechanics and weight loss. Some massage and one or two visits to a chiropractor can also be useful.

More than one or two days of bed or couch rest becomes counter-productive. As you’ve already realized, it can trigger depression, and it tends to result in reduced flexibility and strength of the core muscles. The current advice is to get back to life as soon as you can.

There is no way a herniated or bulging disc can be mistaken for just a garden-variety backache. The pain is excruciating as opposed to annoying. My last episode had me lying on my bed screaming in pain and unable to move to get OUT of bed. It eventually took me 1.5 hrs to wiggle and roll from bed to my kitchen (where my cellphone was) to call for help. :eek:

I’ve had a number of herniated disc episodes, and apart from heavy-duty painkillers in the early days, the best thing is to get moving. No lifting or mad exercises, just gentle walking, stretching, and perhaps some specific movement styles as recommended by a physiotherapist.

The problem is that once it has happened, it will likely happen again unless you can dramatically improve your core muscle strength. It’s important to provide a muscular ‘girdle’ of sorts so the disc will have less scope to wiggle out in the future. Depending on the severity of your disorder (and the frequency of herniations) your Doc might suggest surgery as a remedy of last resort.

But you have my utmost sympathy and I wish you well. Oh god, I wish you well.


A bulging disk will not neccessarily have any symptoms at all or it can become excruciatingly painful. I have had 2 surgeries and have several more herniated disks that are not symptomatic. If I lift something heavy or sit wrong I maybe in pain for several days or feel better the next day, I never know. I was told at 50 I was all finsihed with physical work but managed to squeeze out 12 more years. Now that I am retired I am pain free most of the time.

  The muscular girdle mentioned has been discontinued by many companies because of causing back problems. I think with continued use the back muscles atrophy not really sure.

I think you misunderstood me. My suggestion was to do specific exercises to strengthen the ‘core’ back muscles, not to use an appliance.


Thanks, everybody. I have been moving (walking a lot, specifically), and prior to this I’d been working on my core at the gym for about 6 months - I’m not overweight, either, if that’s usually a factor. I’ve been standing more often than lying down these last two days - sitting is the most painful position. Going to the doctor later this afternoon, so hopefully she can put me on a new regimen or something that will help.

Mine reared its ugly head when I was 24. I was only comfortable when stretched out on the floor or walking. Of course I had an office job at the time so work was excruciating. I did the Motrin thing, saw a chiropractor, had an MRI, and then two cortisone shots. Eight months after it started I had surgery. I’m 34 now and other than occasional sciatica in my left leg, I’m fine.

A course of prednisone did wonders for me in connection with recent back pain. They did not do an MRI on me, so I do not know if my pain was muscle spasms or a herniated disk, but the prednisone made the pain disappear, and so far it has not recurred even after I’m done with the drug.

I’ve had two bulging/herniated disks in my lower back for about 20 years, and have had 4 serious incidents where the pain was so bad I suddenly lost enough strength in my legs to hold myself up, and was stuck laying on my back until someone came along to help. It really sucks. But over two decades I have discovered the solution, for me- regular exercise. If I go more than about 2-3 weeks without exercise, which includes plenty of core (ab & back) strengthening, I start to feel the little twinges of pain that will eventually grow into extreme, immobilizing pain.

Strengthening your core muscles will help take the pressure off the nerves that are being affected by the bulging disk(s). I don’t know anything about your body type, but losing weight is also extremely important, and a nice by-product of a regular exercise regimen.