bulging disc.

Physical Therapy for Bulging Discs

Living with back pain often seems like an unsolvable problem. Your lower back hurts but you’re not quite sure why. Where is the pain coming from? Is my back pain related to pain in other parts of my body? These are all common questions with many possible answers. Fortunately, they are not questions that you have to answer alone. If you are experiencing lower back pain, you may be suffering from a bulging disc.

Identifying a bulging disc as the source of your lower back pain is the first step to treating it. Early assessment of your lower back pain by a physical therapist can help diagnose a bulging disc and put you on the path to regained mobility and pain relief. Professional’s physical therapists are dedicated not only to getting you back to doing the things you love but doing everything possible to safeguard you from worsening bulging disc symptoms and other future back injuries and conditions.

black and white photo of man with lower back pain.

What is a Bulging Disc?

The spinal discs are round pads of cartilage that rest between each vertebra and provide support and mobility to the spine. Normally these discs help absorb stress or strain that is put on the spine.

A bulging disc can put pressure onto nearby spinal nerves, causing pain to be felt in the back or down the leg. When a bulging disc occurs, it can make daily life difficult and painful. Over time, a bulging disc can deform the spine.

What’s the Difference Between Bulging Disc and Herniated Disc

A bulging disc and a herniated disc are very similar, but a bulging disc is when the gel-like material has not necessarily broken through the cartilage, only the outer layer of the cartilage is weakened allowing the disc to bulge. A herniated disc, on the other hand results when a crack in the outer layer of the cartilage allows some of the inner cartilage to protrude out of the disc. With a bulging disc, you may notice pain creeping in over time and may not seek help right away. But with a herniated disc, you’ll tend to see acute or severe pain right away.

Causes of a Bulging Disc

There are numerous causes for bulging discs, such as:

  • Age-related wear and tear
  • Repeated stress on the lumbar spine
  • Poor position when lifting something
  • An injury affecting the back
  • Poor posture while sitting or standing

Bulging discs often develop over time. Professional’s physical therapy specialists understand how the body’s structures work and can identify and treat the underlying causes. No matter the cause or duration of your lower back pain, it is important to address it before symptoms worsen or more serious conditions develop. There are many forms of manual treatment with physical therapy that can help to find relief from back pain caused by a bulging disc.

Woman at computer with back pain.

Do you have back pain?

Our physical therapists will customize a rehabilitation plan for pain caused by bulging discs.  We will work in an effective way to get you back on your feet, focused on your wellness before, during and after therapy.

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Insurances We Accept

Below is a condensed list of insurances we participate with throughout our network of physical therapy clinics.  Find your particular provider below based on your area.
For a complete listing of all insurance providers and individual plans by name: CLICK HERE FOR OUR FULL INSURANCE PAGE.


New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

  • Aetna (NY, NJ, CT)
  • AmeriHealth (NJ)
  • Anthem BCBS (CT)
  • Bardavon (Workers' Compensation – NY, NJ, CT)
  • Cigna/ASH (NY, NJ, CT)
  • CIGNA - Medicare (NY, NJ)
  • Claims Resolution Corp (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • ClearComp (Workers' Compensation – NY, NJ)
  • Clover Health Medicare Advantage (NJ)
  • Comp X (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • ConnectiCare (CT)
  • Department of Labor (Workers' Compensation – NY, NJ, CT)
  • Empire BCBS (Individual Providers In Network – NY)
  • Empire Plan MPN (UHC – NY, NJ)
  • Fidelis Wellcare (NJ)
  • First MCO (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • GHI (Emblem Health – NY, NJ, CT)
  • HIP (Emblem Health – NY)
  • Horizon BCBS (NJ)
  • Horizon Casualty (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • Independence BCBS (Southern NJ)
  • Magna Care (NY, NJ, CT)
  • Magna Comp (Workers' Compensation – NY, NJ, CT)
  • Medicare (NY, NJ, CT)
  • MedRisk (Workers' Compensation – NY, NJ, CT)
  • MultiPlan (NY, NJ, CT)
  • New Jersey Manufacturers (NJM - Workers' Compensation - NJ)
  • No Fault (Various Carriers)
  • Northwell Health Clinical Integration Network IPA (NY)
  • OccuNet (NJ)
  • One Call (Workers' Compensation - NY, NJ, CT
  • Oscar Health Plan (NY, NJ)
  • Oxford (Optum - NY, NJ, CT)
  • Providers Edge Scheduling Group/PESG (Workers' Compensation - NJ)
  • QualCare (NJ)
  • Qual-Lynx (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • SPNET (Workers' Compensation - NY, NJ, CT)
  • Streamline (Workers' Compensation – NJ)
  • United Health Care (Optum - NY, NJ, CT)
  • VACCN (Optum - NY, NJ, CT)
  • WellCare (NY)
  • Workers' Compensation (Various Carriers)

Massachusetts, New Hampshire

  • Aetna (MA, NH)
  • Ambetter/NH Healthy Families (NH)
  • Amerihealth Caritas (effective date 4/27/2020 - NH)
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (NH)
  • Bardavon (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
  • BCBS Massachusetts (MA)
  • CeltiCare (MA)
  • Cigna/ASH (NH)
  • Commonwealth Care Alliance (MA)
  • Fallon Health (MA)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (MA, NH)
  • Health New England (MA)
  • MaineCare (NH)
  • Magna Care (MA, NH)
  • Magna Comp (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
  • Martin’s Point Health Care (NH)
  • Mass General Brigham Health (Formerly AllWays Health Partners)
  • Massachusetts Health (Medicaid – MA)
  • Medicaid (MA, NH)
  • Medicare (MA, NH)
  • Med Risk (Workers' Compensation – MA)
  • ML Healthcare (NF – MA, NH)
  • No Fault (Various Carriers)
  • Omni Healthcare (MVA Lien – MA, NH)
  • One Call (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
  • SPNET (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
  • Streamline (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
  • Tufts Cigna (MA)
  • Tufts Health Plan (MA, NH)
  • Tufts Medicare Advantage (MA)
  • Tufts Public (Medicaid – MA)
  • UniCare (MA)
  • United Health Care (Optum – MA, NH)
  • WellSense Health (Formerly BMC – Boston Medical Center – MA)
  • Workers’ Compensation (Various Carriers)


What are Bulging Disc Symptoms?

Wherever a bulging disc puts pressure on a nerve along your spinal cord, pain or muscle weakness can occur in nearby areas. For example, if herniation occurs in your lower back, you may feel symptoms in your leg or foot as well. While the lower back is a commonly affected area, bulging disc symptoms can be felt in other places in the body, including the neck, arms, and legs. Common symptoms of a bulging disc include:

  • Difficulty moving or walking
  • Joint stiffness
  • Difficulty standing up straight
  • Pain, numbness, or tingling in the leg
  • Weakness or tightness in the legs
  • Loss of reflexes

Diagnosis of a Bulging Disc

Tools that can be used to diagnose a bulging disc and refer you to PT include a clinical exam, MRI, X-Ray or Orthopedic Specialist.

If you suspect you are suffering from a bulging disc, physical therapy is a beneficial, non-invasive process for treatment and rehabilitation. Professional’s expert physical therapists will assess your symptoms, provide a better understanding of your condition, and create a comprehensive personalized program that aims to relieve back pain and restore mobility and range of motion.

If you are suffering from any back pain that may not be related to a bulging disc, please visit our primary low back information page⇒.

When Should I Seek Physical Therapy for a Bulging Disc?

You can rest assured that Professional’s PTs will educate you on your bulging disc diagnosis, evaluate your pain and other symptoms, and work with you to develop goals and ongoing wellness strategies to restore pain-free function as soon as possible. The main goal of physical therapy is to improve your daily quality of life by providing care that helps decrease your pain and increase your strength and mobility. During your initial consultation, Professional’s physical therapists will discuss your concerns with you, examine your current physical limitations, and create a plan to address your pain and help curb the onset of additional or worsening symptoms. Your PT will reevaluate your condition with each visit to make sure that your rehabilitation progress and treatment approach are aligned.

If you are experiencing symptoms of or have been diagnosed with a bulging disc, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as the pain is noticeable. Professional’s physical therapists work with you to assess and address your back pain and bulging disc symptoms and severity to create a personalized physical therapy plan for you.

physical therapist giving back pain treatment to patient

Treatment of Bulging Disc

A bulging disc diagnosis can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Physical therapy is a first line of defense for bulging discs, and Professional’s physical therapists are experts on pain caused by lower back pain and bulging discs. When you work with the knowledgeable physical therapists at Professional PT and take an active role in your treatment, you have the best chance of a complete and timely recovery.

Below are just a few of the skills and techniques we use to treat a bulging disc or rehabilitate you after a back injury or bulging disc surgery:

  • Manual Muscle Stretching
  • Soft Tissue Mobilization
  • Pain Modulation Techniques
  • Manual Therapy
  • Joint Mobilization
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Heat/Cold Therapy

Professional’s physical therapists can identify and treat bulging discs and guide and encourage you when you are ready to return to activities. Your PT will welcome any questions if you do not understand your diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment plan. At Professional, we are committed to ensuring that our treatment is comprehensive, manageable, and customized to fit your specific symptoms and concerns. We are ready to support you every step of the way on your journey to pain-free movement.

Find the clinic nearest to you⇒ to you to speak with a Professional physical therapist who specializes in lower back pain and bulging discs today.

Convenient physical therapy clinics near you

We provide treatments for Bulging Disc pain from our physical therapy clinics throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.  Fill out the form above, or contact a clinic near you to speak with a Professional Physical Therapist and lower back pain specialist today.

Get physical therapy for low back pain today

We will work together to manage your bulging disc pain during and after therapy