When someone complains about something being wrong with a disc in their back, we often hear the terms “disc herniation” and “disc bulge”. Here at DiBella Chiropractic, we know that these two things are completely different problems, but we also know that not everyone will know the difference between them. It may seem like focusing on the difference between them is silly since both are painful, but there is a large difference when it comes to treatment options. In order to fully appreciate the difference, let's learn a little bit about the spine itself.
The spine has a few parts that you need to be at least somewhat familiar with in order to understand the difference between herniation and bulging. The first part is the disc. This is the element between the vertebrae that acts like a cushion so the bones don’t rub together. Looking closer, the disc itself has two parts. These are called the nucleus and the annulus. The nucleus is the center, which is soft and jelly-like. The annulus is the exterior part of the disc, which is tougher. The annulus protects the nucleus from the vertebrae, like a hard shell. However, sometimes the annulus cracks or gets a tear in it. When this happens, the nucleus can seep out, which causes pain. If a nerve is touched, it may cause multiple symptoms, including pain or numbness. This is a disc herniation.
Bulges, on the other hand, are simply caused by normal wear and tear to the disc. Often times, the person doesn't experience any symptoms. The main difference between a bulge and a herniation is the type of displacement that occurs. There is technically less displacement from a herniation than there is a bulge, yet the pain is normally more severe. It should be mentioned, however, that a bulge in your spinal disc will catch up to you. Anything that involves your back will need to be dealt with sooner or later. It is always important to get any pain checked out by a professional.
If you believe you may have a herniated or bulging disc and are looking for a way to deal with the pain, call DiBella Chiropractic as soon as possible. We know that it can be difficult to find time to see a doctor, but your back deserves the extra care. Come in today and be amazed at how much we can help you feel!