23 Oct Knowing The Difference Between A Bulging And A Herniated Disc
Many are confused when they hear the terms bulging and herniated discs. What, if anything, is the difference?
Our discs lie between the vertebrae in the spine and when damaged cause back pain. Essentially, what discs are composed of is an outer layer made of tough cartilage that surrounds a much softer cartilage in the center. Visualize a small, cream filled donut.
Discs can show signs of wear as we age. As we age, discs can often dehydrate, and their cartilage stiffens. These changes can cause the outer layer of the disc to bulge out fairly evenly all the way around its circumference — so it resembles a small hamburger that’s just too big for the bun that it’s in.
A bulging disc does not always involve the entire perimeter of a disc. Usually, a quarter to half of the disc’s circumference is affected, and only the outer layer of tough cartilage is involved.
In contrast, a herniated disc results when a crack in the outer layer of cartilage allows some of the softer inner cartilage to protrude out of the disk. Herniated disks are also called slipped disks or ruptured discs. However, keep in mind that the entire disc does not herniate; only a small area of the crack is affected
A herniated disk is more likely to cause pain as it will protrude further and will more than likely irritate nerve roots. The irritation can be from compression of the nerve or, much more commonly, the herniation causes a painful inflammation of the nerve root.
Back Pain Help at Integrated Pain Consultants, Scottsdale
If you are experiencing ongoing back pain, it likely could be that you are experiencing nerve pain as a result of a herniated disc. Don’t live with the pain. Contact Integrated Pain Consultants at (480) 626-2552 to get to the cause of your pain and eliminate it. At Integrated Pain Consultants, you can be assured you will be seeing highly skilled pain physicians with years of experience in treating and reducing all types of pain. We also invite you to learn more about Dr. Nikesh Seth and other providers including Dr. Anne-Marie Cosijns, Dr. Lisa Sparks, Dr. Michael Givens, and our team of Nurse Practitioners.