Herniated Discs and Bowen Therapy

A herniated, slipped or bulging disc is when an intervertibral disc is constantly compressed which causes the nucleus (the soft centre) to bulge, or possibly rupture the tough fibrous outer layer like the outside of a tyre. This prolapse may push on the spinal cord or on the nerve roots, causing intense sharp pain in and around the lower back. The majority of disc herniations occur in the lumbar region (lower back), because that part of the vertebral column bears much of the weight of the body, and it is also the region which does the most bending and flexing.

What is the cause of a slipped disc?
The term ‘slipped disc’ does not really describe the condition accurately as the disc does not actually slip out of place, but bulges out towards the spinal cord. This puts pressure on the spinal nerves causing acute pain in and around the lower back. If the roots of the sciatic nerve are compressed the pain can radiate down the posterior thigh, through the calf, and occasionally into the foot. This condition is called Sciatica. Hard physical labour can increase the likelihood of a herniated disc, excessive strain or pressure on the spine can also cause a herniated disc. They are also seen following trauma such as an injury from a fall or a car accident. On occasion they seem to just happen without any obvious cause.

Bowen therapy and the treatment of a Herniated disc
Herniated discs respond well to Bowen treatment. – via BTA Click To Tweet This particular type of therapy seems to have a much more immediate response than other treatments such as chiropractic or physiotherapy as the pressure around the herniated disc is decreased immediately. The specific Bowen moves relieve the tension in and around the herniated area.
Utilising special procedures in a Bowen treatment as well as the Basic Relaxation Moves, most clients get a degree of immediate relief from a herniated disc after the first session. Many clients only require a few treatments to fully treat the herniated disc. This depends, of course, on the severity of the condition. Intervertebral discs are the 23 narrow spongy shock absorbers which fit between the 24 separate bones of your spine. Without the discs these bones would grate and crunch every time you moved. Intervertebral discs have very little in the way of nerve supply and contain no blood. They are made up largely of water. The inside is filled with something kind of like toothpaste. As your disc begins to lose water it is like letting air out of a radial tire; the sides begin to bulge. As you get older the amount of fluid in your discs will diminish slightly, – hence why drinking water is very important in maintaining spinal health.

Sue Hamilton – Instructor

Photo by Michael Dorausch

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Categories General Bowen Info, Practitioners | Tags: | Posted on August 31, 2012


  1. by Jennifer Lowry

    On September 19, 2012

    I fully support the use of Bowen Therapy in the treatment of herniated discs – I have had very painful and personal experience with herniations at both L4/5, L5/S1 with a residual weakness and tendency to reinjure in the area for over 30 years. Bowen treatment is the only thing that clears it quickly and gets me up and moving again.

    Interestingly, I have found that if i can get a treatment within 24 hours of a reinjury, the next day it is about 80% better and by the end of the week, pretty well back to normal, although the memory of the pain and the guarding against further reinjury keeps me a bit cautious for the next week.

    On those rare occasions when I stupidly think it isn’t so bad and will get better by itself, and wait a few days before i finally relent and call my therapist, the recovery time is so much slower – almost a month, with repeated treatments necessary to get rid of the guarding and compensatory patterns. The 80% better feeling the next day reduces to 40 – 50% with a delay in seeking treatment, too.

    A cautionary note for new therapists and sufferers new to Bowen – I usually find I feel fantastic whilst I am on the table as my body lets go with the treatment – no pain at all – but when I try to sit up, I find the pain comes back with a vengeance bad enough to bring tears to the eye and bad words to the mouth. iIhave had many clients experience the same thing and this can be really scary for the therapist – and the client! Take heart, it may still feel rotten on the day of the treatment, but by the next day – 40 – 80% better! Really. Believe me. I know.

  2. by Vianne MacBeth

    On September 19, 2012

    Great blog very informative Thanks Sue….it is a common problem and lots of people don’t understand the under lining issue and you can treat most herniated disc very effectively without having surgery or weeks of bed rest with Bowen therapy. Its a happy client when they understand there condition is very treatable and they can manage they spinal health with Bowen.

  3. by Harumi

    On October 3, 2012

    I used to suffering pins & needles in my left leg because of it. Since I started getting Bowen Therapy, my pain has been under control.

  4. by Jane murphy

    On April 30, 2014

    Last year I treated a young 14yr old girl who was an elite athlete. She came in to my clinic with her father, who informed me that she had a bulging lumbar disc, and had been seen by a specialist, and was scheduled for a laminectomy. He decided to try Bowen therapy first as he had heard that it could help.

    I did the BRM’s, Kidney, pelvic & hamstring. When she returned the following week, her lower back was better, had improved dramatically and now wasn’t a problem. She informed me that the day following her last Bowen treatment, she had come out in a raised extremely itchy rash from her chest, down her legs that lasted only the one day. On the 2nd week she has severe pain between her shoulder blades. We chased the pain around for a few weeks, as her body unwound, she had a full recovery back to performing elite athletics.

  5. by Christos Miliankos

    On March 23, 2015

    Great blog article Sue – very informative and well written……… And thanks for all the personal stories and comments. I can definitely agree with Jenny Lowry about the effectiveness of treatment as soon as possible after re injury. Happy days to all.

  6. by Ramandeep Kaur

    On May 10, 2016

    what is actually Bowen Therapy, my brother is seriously in severe back pain due to disc bulge from last 3-4 years. He need help.

  7. by Administrator

    On May 10, 2016

    Hello Ramandeep,
    You can read more about Bowen therapy here and find a Bowen therapist near you by visiting this link.

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