A herniated or bulging disc can cause serious pain and disability. In some instances, a disc can be “popped” back into place, however this is not a guarantee for relief and is often a short-term solution. This article will provide information about what causes a bulging disc, what risks are associated with attempting to pop it back into place, and when to seek medical help.

What is a Bulging Disc?

A bulging disc is a kind of herniated disc in which small cracks or tears have occurred in the external covering of the spinal disc. This can cause a portion of the disc material to herniate out, or bulge, towards the spinal cord or its nerve roots, which can lead to a range of painful and restrictive symptoms. In severe cases, the bulge or herniation can compress or pinch the nerves, causing significant pain and disability.

Causes of Bulging Discs

A bulging disc is usually caused by age-related wear and tear on the spine or an injury like a fall or car accident. Discs can degenerate due to natural wear-and-tear, and weakened discs can herniate under the added pressure of various activities like lifting, bending, or twisting. Injury is another common cause of bulging discs, and it can range from direct physical trauma like a fall or car accident to overuse from repeated smaller forces like prolonged sitting.

Read Also:  All You Need to Know About Bulging Discs in the Cervical Spine

Can a Bulging Disc Be Popped Back into Place?

It is possible for a bulging disc to be popped back into place, however this does not guarantee relief from symptoms. In some cases, by performing an activity like a specific type of lift or move, the disc material can be forced back into place. However, these maneuvers may only provide a temporary fix and should not be done without receiving proper medical instruction.

Attempting to manipulate a disc without correct technique can cause a variety of risks, such as worsening the disc herniation or causing further injury to the soft tissues in the spine. It is also important to note that even if a disc is successfully popped back into place, there may still be residual pain and disability that requires further medical management.

When to Seek Medical Help for a Bulging Disc

If you experience symptoms of a bulging disc, such as pain radiating from the back or neck, pins and needles, or muscle weakness in the arms and legs, it is important to seek medical help. A doctor can perform a physical examination and imaging scans such as X-ray, MRI, or CT scan to diagnose your condition, and determine the best form of treatment.

Treatment for a bulging disc may include physical therapy and lifestyle changes such as exercises and postural corrections, as well as medication, injections, or surgery if necessary. Your doctor can advise the most appropriate treatment depending on your individual circumstances.

People Also Ask

What is the fastest way to recover from a bulging disc?

The fastest way to recover from a bulging disc is to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan from your doctor and adhere to it. This may include physical therapy, lifestyle modifications like regular exercise, and medication or injections if necessary.

Read Also:  Spinal Discitis - Inflammation of the Spinal Discs

Can a bulging disc heal without surgery?

Yes, in most cases, a bulging disc can heal without surgery. In mild to moderate cases, treatment can focus on lifestyle modifications, activity avoidance, postural corrections, and physical therapy to relieve pressure on the disc and allow it to heal.

What happens if a bulging disc is left untreated?

If left untreated, a bulging disc can cause further injury to the disc or soft tissues in the spine, and can lead to reduced mobility, pain and disability. It is important to seek medical help if experiencing any of the symptoms of a bulging disc.

How long does it take to recover from a bulging disc?

Recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the injury. However, with proper treatment, a bulging disc can usually heal within a few weeks or months.


Herniated or bulging discs can cause significant pain and disability, and can be caused by age-related wear-and-tear, injury, or repeated smaller forces. Attempting to “pop” a disc back into place can provide temporary relief, but this should only ever be done with proper medical instruction. If you experience symptoms of a herniated disc it is important to seek medical help to ensure an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan. With the right medical care and lifestyle adjustments, a bulging disc can usually heal within a few weeks or months.