Generally when we hear about someone dealing with a back disc issue, we either hear the term “disc herniation” or “bulging disc”. Here at DiBella Chiropractic, we have noticed that most people don't seem terribly familiar with the difference between the two, despite them being quite different from one another. It may seem like the difference between them doesn't truly matter to the sufferer, but we can assure you that from a treatment standpoint, it does. To understand the difference, it is important to learn a little bit about the spine itself.
The spine has multiple aspects that you need to have a basic understanding of to grasp the difference between herniation and bulging. The first is the part between the vertebrae that acts like a cushion so the bones don’t rub together. This is the disc. The disc itself has two parts. These are called the nucleus and the annulus. The nucleus is the center, which is soft and often likened to jelly. The annulus is the exterior part of the disc, which is a bit tougher. The annulus protects the nucleus from the vertebrae. There are times that the annulus cracks or gets a tear in it. When this happens, the nucleus can “seep” through, which causes pain. If it hits a nerve, it can cause any number of symptoms, such as pain or numbness. This is a disc herniation.
Bulges, however, are caused by normal wear and tear to the disc and are often present even if the person with one doesn't feel any pain. The main difference is the type of displacement that occurs between a bulge or a herniation. There is technically less displacement from a herniation than there is a bulge, and yet the pain is often more intense. This isn't to say that disc bulges should be ignored, however. Anything that involves your back will become serious sooner or later. It is always important to get it looked at by a professional as soon as possible.
If you believe you may have a herniated or bulging disc, or 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 when it comes to your back you should always stay on top of things. Come in today and be amazed at how much better you can feel!