Herniated Disc vs. Bulging Disc

Dec 15, 2021

Your spine is made up of bones called vertebrae that stack one on top of the other to provide your body with stability and support. In between each of these bones is a spinal disc that prevents these bones from rubbing against one another. Spinal discs also function as shock absorbers from movements you do every day, like walking, twisting, lifting, and more. When one of these spinal discs becomes damaged, it can cause pain and other symptoms. When you visit your local Conyers chiropractor for back pain treatment, they will determine what type of spinal disc issue is affecting you. The most common reasons for back and neck pain due to a spinal disc are herniated discs vs. bulging discs.

What Is a Herniated Disc?

Each spinal disc is made up of a tough outer shell that protects a soft, gel-like inner nucleus. If the disc becomes weakened or damaged, then the inner part of the spinal disc can protrude, which is known as a herniated disc. The outer shell of a spinal disc can become cracked for a number of reasons, including a spinal injury suffered during a car accident or from the natural degeneration of spinal discs over time. As you age, spinal discs can lose their elasticity and can become more brittle, making it easier for the outer shell to crack or tear and the inner portion to protrude and compress nearby spinal nerves.

Causes of Spinal Disc Issues

Here are three common causes of spinal disc issues.

Wear and Tear

General wear and tear on the body can start to take a toll on spinal discs. The spinal discs can lose their flexibility as we age, and the tough outer shell becomes more susceptible to cracking or tearing. The spinal disc can also start to lose its shape and ability to effectively absorb shock and cushion vertebrae, and it may flatten or stretch into other spaces of the spinal column.

Spinal Injury

A spinal injury can also cause issues with spinal discs. Whiplash is a common car accident injury that damages the muscles and tendons that support your neck. It can also cause spinal damage and lead to a tear or bulge of a spinal disc. Other spinal injuries include straining your back while lifting something heavy or while playing contact sports.

Spinal Condition

Spinal conditions can also cause spinal disc issues, including spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease. Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal column, which can create less space in the spine and cause misalignments of the vertebrae and their spinal discs. Degenerative disc disease refers to a spinal condition where too much wear and tear on the spine can cause the spinal discs to thin and no longer be able to cushion vertebrae.

Diagnosing a Herniated Disc vs. Bulging Disc

When you visit your Conyers chiropractor for a bulging vs. herniated disc, they will want to talk with you about your symptoms and also perform a physical examination of the area. Your chiropractor will use an all-natural approach to gently assessing your spine for misalignments of vertebrae and spinal discs. They may also want to run diagnostic imaging tests, like X-rays or CT scans, to get a clearer picture of the affected area. If you recently suffered an injury, then diagnostic imaging tools can also help rule out other potential injuries too.

Back Pain Treatment for Bulging vs. Herniated Disc

Your back pain treatment will depend on whether you are dealing with a herniated disc vs. a bulging disc. Your chiropractor will create a personalized treatment plan that best addresses your symptoms as well as the underlying cause so that you can experience lasting relief from your pain and discomfort. Visit AICA Orthopedics in Conyers to learn more about your options for back pain treatment and find out whether you are suffering from a bulging or herniated disc.


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