The human spine is made up of numerous bones called vertebrae that are stacked one on top of another. Between each of the vertebra is a spongy, shock absorbing disc called an intervertebral disc. When the disc wall begins to weaken it is at risk of tearing. When it tears the gel inside the disc can herniate out resulting in a disc herniation - also called a ruptured disc or slipped disc.
If the gel from inside the disc presses on certain spinal nerves in the lower back it can cause sciatica. If the gel does not press on anything it may cause lower back pain or no pain at all.
A disc bulge occurs when the walls of a disc begins to weaken and the disc bulges out of place. A herniated disc is a disc bulge with a tear in its wall and its inner gel is herniating out . A herniated disc is more likely to cause pain vs a disc bulge.
There is more and more evidence to support that disc herniations can completely heal and resolve. Acupuncture can aid in the recovery process by helping relieving the nerve and muscle pain associated with a disc herniation.
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Doctor of Chinese Medicine
Registered Acupuncturist and Herbalist
Spontaneous Regression of lumbar herniated discs: report of one illustrative case and review of literature, Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2016 Apr, 143: 86 - 89. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26907997
Lumbar Disc herniation treated with Auricular Acupuncture: BMJ Acupuncture in Medicine, V32, Issue 5. https://aim.bmj.com/content/32/5/430