What Is The Difference Between A Bulging Disc And A Herniated Disc?

What Is The Difference Between A Bulging Disc And A Herniated Disc?

Spinal Stenosis in Center Point AL

What Is The Difference Between A Bulging Disc And A Herniated Disc?

When a spinal problem develops, symptoms can range from annoying to debilitating. Of course, the spine has many working parts that are susceptible to injury, including small structures called intervertebral discs. These discs lie between the bony vertebra in your spine. Their main role is to increase spinal mobility and provide shock absorption.Doctor showing a patient the vertebra in Center Point, AL


How Might I Injure An Intervertebral Disc?
Injury to an intervertebral disc may be caused by poor body mechanics, repetitive movements, heavy lifting, and other factors. Many times, you may hear of people saying they have a "slipped disc" in their back. This term is a bit of a misnomer. Intervertebral discs don't technically "slip" out of place. Instead, a more appropriate term would be either a "bulging" disc or "herniated" disc--but even these describe two different conditions.


What Is The Difference Between A Bulging Disc And A Herniated Disc?
To understand the difference between a bulging versus a herniated disc, it's helpful (albeit a bit silly!) to imagine an intervertebral disc as a tiny jelly donut. Intervertebral discs are filled with gel-like cartilage called nucleus pulposus. On the outside, discs are surrounded by a tough cartilage called annulus fibrosis. With a bulging disc, the inner gel-like nucleus pulposus may move or protrude out beyond the normal disc space, but it does not break through the outer cartilagenous layer. This would be like squeezing a jelly donut, but none of the jelly actually leaks out.

In a herniated disc, the inner nucleus pulposus breaks through the annulus fibrosus, and may leak into the spinal canal and other nearby areas. In this case, it would be like squeezing a jelly donut to the point that some of the jelly begins to ooze out.


What Do A Bulging Disc And A Herniated Disc Have In Common?
Bulging and herniated discs can have similar symptoms, depending on the severity and location of the injury. Common symptoms of a spinal disc injury include back pain and stiffness. If a disc ends up "pinching" a spinal nerve, a person may also develop pain, weakness, or numbness in the limb that the affected nerve innervates.

Similarly, both types of disc injury tend to respond well to chiropractic care, such as spinal decompression, chiropractic adjustments, corrective exercise prescription, and workspace modification.


To schedule an appointment with our chiropractor at Gremmels Chiropractic Center in Center Point, call us at 205-854-3008.

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Tuesday
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Wednesday
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Thursday
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Friday
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Saturday
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Gremmels Chiropractic Center
1705 Centerpoint Parkway
Birmingham, AL 35215
(205) 854-3008