Spinal disc deterioration from aging is normal, but health issues or injuries can advance the degenerative process. Disc protrusions are related to herniated discs but are the mildest form of the condition and are a common form of spinal disc deterioration that can cause neck and back issues. However, individuals may have a small protruding disc that can go undetected unless it irritates or compresses the surrounding nerves. Chiropractic care, decompression, and massage therapy can realign the disc back into position, relieving discomfort and pain. 

Disc Protrusion Chiropractor

Disc Protrusion

A disc is like a sturdy soft rubber shock absorber/cushion with added gel inside. The gel acts as a shock absorber. When the gel begins to protrude out slightly, this is a disc protrusion. Once a protruding disc begins to develop, it usually remains in that position. The disc can sometimes reabsorb on its own and realign back into position, but there is no way of knowing that will happen or how long it will take. With age and/or injuries, the body’s parts change. The spine’s discs dehydrate and lose elasticity weakening the discs and making them more vulnerable to herniation stages:

First Stage

  • Following natural weakening can be classified as a disc protrusion when the disc’s core begins pushing into the spinal column.
  • Disc protrusions can be tiny or push out an entire side of the disc.

Second Stage

  • Disc deterioration often consists of a bulging disc when the core pushes out farther around the circumference beyond the disc’s outer layer, called the annulus fibrosus, creating the telltale bulge.
  • A bulging disc involves more than 180 degrees of the disc’s circumference.

Third Stage

  • The third stage is a herniated disc, meaning the disc’s outer wall has torn, allowing the inner gel to leak out, usually irritating the surrounding nerves.

Fourth Stage

  • The fourth stage is sequestration, a herniated disc in which a piece of the nucleus breaks free of the vertebral disc fragments and falls into the spinal canal.


A disc protrusion is one type of disc herniation that pushes out but remains connected. Different types compress and irritate the discs differently and produce various symptoms, including:


  • This is the most common, where the disc protrusion jams the space between the central canal and the foramen.


  • This is where the disc protrusion impinges into the spinal canal, with or without spinal cord compression.


  • The disc intrudes into the foramen, the space through which nerve roots branch off the spinal cord and exit the vertebrae.

Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Chiropractic Care

Individuals with a disc protrusion can have symptoms similar to sciatica, which includes back, buttock, and leg discomfort, numbness, and pain sensations.

  • Treatment for disc protrusion will be based on the individual’s symptoms.
  • A chiropractor will take a detailed medical history and perform a physical examination.
  • A spinal MRI test could be ordered depending on the injury or condition.
  • A customized treatment plan will be developed to fit the individual’s medical needs.

Most disc protrusions improve after a few weeks of rest, avoiding strenuous activities, activity modification, an anti-inflammatory diet, and gentle exercises that the chiropractic team will provide.

True Spinal Decompression


Fardon, David F et al. “Lumbar disc nomenclature: version 2.0: Recommendations of the combined task forces of the North American Spine Society, the American Society of Spine Radiology and the American Society of Neuroradiology.” The spine journal: official journal of the North American Spine Society vol. 14,11 (2014): 2525-45. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2014.04.022

Mysliwiec, Lawrence Walter, et al. “MSU classification for herniated lumbar discs on MRI: toward developing objective criteria for surgical selection.” The European spine journal: official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society vol. 19,7 (2010): 1087-93. doi:10.1007/s00586-009-1274-4


Urban, Jill P G, and Sally Roberts. “Degeneration of the intervertebral disc.” Arthritis research & therapy vol. 5,3 (2003): 120-30. doi:10.1186/ar629

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The information herein on "Disc Protrusion Sciatica Clinic Chiropractor" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez
Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training, functional medicine, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries. We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages. As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities' premier doctors, therapist and trainers in order to provide high-level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities. We've been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients' health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs. Our programs are natural and use the body's ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living. With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age, ability or disability.