Herniated Disc Vs. Buldging Disc: What’s the Difference?

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Back pain can be debilitating for anyone that deals with it, but it’s fairly common. Did you know that back pain is the second most common reason people take sick days (first is the common cold). Obesity and improper lifting techniques are the two most common causes of back pain.

Obesity rates have doubled since 1980 and our spines are just not built to handle the extra weight a person could be carrying. When lifting heavy objects, you should use your legs, but some may lift with their back and cause an injury. When it comes to common back pain and back injuries, a herniated disc and bulging disc are two very common back injuries. But what’s the difference between the two? Let’s discuss futher…

What is a Herniated Disc?

Herniated discs get their name from none other than the hernias, which occur when an organ pushes through the muscles or tissues that are holding it in place. They commonly happen with intestines and the abdominal wall. It’s a similar concept to a herniated disc. There is a gel-like fluid in the center of your discs that can push through the outer wall. It can cause a bulge that can put pressure on the nearby nerves and cause pain.

What is a Bulging Disc?

A bulging disc occurs when the outer wall of the disc is weak and the nucleus pulpous, the inner core of the vertebral disc, is pushing to get out, but hasn’t yet ruptured through causing the disc to bulge outwards. They are less likely to cause pain than herniated discs because they don’t protrude far enough to press on a nerve. However, a bulging disc can often progress into full-blown herniated disc over time.

What Should You Do?

Back pain is nothing to mess with, so make an appointment to see a doctor if your pain continues. Your doctor will be able to tell if you’re dealing with a herniated or bulging disc and develop the right treatment plan to get you back on track.

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