Disc Bulge vs Disc Herniation

The intervertebral discs are located between the vertebrae of the spine and act as shock absorbers, allowing for movement and flexibility. A herniated or bulging disc can occur when the soft, gel-like center of the disc (the nucleus pulposus) bulges or ruptures through the disc’s outer layer (the annulus fibrosis).

While the terms “herniated” and “bulging” are often used interchangeably, there is a slight difference in their meanings.

A bulging disc occurs when the disc’s outer layer protrudes outward, but the inner nucleus pulposus remains contained within the disc. This means that the disc’s shape is altered and may press against nearby nerves, causing pain or discomfort. However, the disc’s outer layer has no rupture, and the disc’s structural integrity remains intact.

On the other hand, a herniated disc occurs when the nucleus pulposus ruptures or breaks through the annulus fibrosus, releasing the disc’s inner material into the spinal canal. This can cause inflammation, pressure, and irritation to the surrounding nerves, leading to pain and other symptoms.

A herniated disc is generally considered more severe than a bulging disc and may require more intensive treatment.

Overall, both bulging and herniated discs can cause pain and other symptoms, and the severity of these symptoms depends on the location and extent of the disc problem.

The DRX-9000 is the only true non-surgical spinal decompression table that has FDA clearance. Medical evidence shows that this technology can decrease the pressure within the discs, and thus begin the healing process.

Bulging discs can occur as a result of age-related wear and tear, repetitive strain, or injury.

On the other hand, a herniated disc occurs when the outer layer of the disc tears, allowing the inner nucleus to protrude. This can cause more severe pain, as the inner layer can encroach on the nerves and spinal cord. This often leads to some type of stenosis, depending on where the herniation is located. Herniated discs can be caused by trauma, such as a car accident or a fall, or by degenerative conditions that weaken the disc over time.

In summary, both of these conditions can cause pain and/or irritation of the surrounding soft tissues, particularly the nerve roots. This can cause symptoms like numbness, burning, or tingling. If this occurs in the neck (cervical spine), it can be felt in the arms. If this occurs in the low back (lumbar region), it can be felt in the legs.

Dr. Michael Lea is the only provider in Indiana that utilizes true non-surgical spinal decompression technology with the DRX-9000, treating both the cervical and lumbar spine.

Schedule your No Obligation Consultation with Dr. Lea!