Bulging Discs vs. Herniated Discs

doctor and patient observing spinal x-rayWhile bulging discs and herniated discs are two of the most common spine issues that people face, it can be difficult to understand what exactly they are and the differences between them. To help you understand your condition and how to address it, the following is an overview of the differences between these common spine issues.

About Spinal Discs
The spine is made up of segments called vertebrae, and each segment is separated by a spinal disc. Spinal discs are soft shock absorbers that protect the spinal cord and allow the spine to be flexible. As we age, spinal discs tend to dehydrate and become stiff.

What is a Bulging Disc?
Spinal discs consist of a jelly-like portion and a protective outer layer. When the walls of the outer layer (known as the annulus) become weaker, it can cause a portion of the disc to bulge into the spinal canal. It can be imagined as a hamburger that is too large for its bun.

What is a Herniated Disc?
When the soft inner layer of a spinal disc (known as the nucleus pulposus) displaces beyond the normal borders of the disc in a localized region, this forms a herniated disc. Unlike a bulging disc, the displaced material from the inner layer doesn’t exceed more than 25% of the overall disc’s circumference.

For bulging or herniated discs, nonsurgical spinal decompression in Brandon, FL may be the treatment for you. Call us today at 813-689-1883 to learn more about your options.