Brushing your teeth could tell you if you have a slipped disc

When brushing your teeth in the morning do you have back ache?  Do you get a pain running down your leg when you are bending over the bathroom sink?


These could be signs of a bulging disc between the vertebrae in the base of your spine.  When you bend forwards to brush your teeth in the morning, this compresses the front part of the disc and causes the back part of the disc to bulge more.  That bulging at the back of the disc can be painful, and if the bulge touches on the nearby nerve root exiting the spine, it can cause pain to shoot down your buttock and leg.

Bulging of the disc is often worst in the mornings because the discs are usually most hydrated and “jucier” first thing in the morning.  During the course of the day the disc gradually dehydrates from the water content being squeezed out of them, and over-night they re-hydrate. While lying in bed over-night, there has been little compressive force from gravity and being upright running down the length of the spine.    When waking up the disc is jucier and there is more to bulge out when bending forwards while brushing your teeth.

So if you do experience low back pain in the mornings while brushing your teeth, this could be a significant sign that you have a bulging disc.

steve spine

Each year we help hundreds of patients to avoid surgery on their spine, help them to reduce pain killers and to get back to doing the things they love to do.  Many patients are concerned and worried about having surgery on their spine.  Our approach to treating disc problems is to systematically reduce muscle spasm that increases the disc pressure, mobilise the vertebrae to create more “space” for the nerve to move (to help to decompress that nerve) and to mobilise the “trapped” nerve root to free it from the area of compression.

We deal with most major health insurance companies.

If you need physiotherapy advice on how to treat your bulging disc please arrange to see one of our BOOST PHYSIOs at either our Hendon NW4 or East Finchley N2 practices.  BOOST PHYSIOs are experts at diagnosing disc problems and treating them.


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BOOST PHYSIO works with major insurance companies like: BUPA, AVIVA, WPA, CIGNA and Simplyhealth. We usually deal directly with your insurance company.