Bulging Disc vs. Herniated Disc

A bulging disc is different than a herniated disc. A bulging disc has not broken through the outer casing, but can still create symptoms likes stiffness, pain and more. Bulging disc is the same as protruding disc. The disc material is still enclosed. A bulging disc is easier to treat than a herniated disc, but is treatable.

Two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a subtle difference between a “herniated” disc and a “bulging” disc. On one hand, a herniated disc is a condition in which the tough outer wall of an intervertebral disc has been weakened, allowing the softer insides to deform the shape of the disc.

If your lower back is hurting, there is a chance that a bulging or herniated disc may be the cause. Although any one of the intervertebral discs in your spinal column can become damaged, herniated discs are more common in the lumbar region of the spine. This is because the lumbar region supports more weight than other parts of the back. When excess weight is put on this area, there is an increased risk of rupturing a disc which is the worst outcome.

Whether it’s a herniated or bulging disc, both conditions are easily treated using the same minimally invasive methods. These methods include chiropractic with acute pain physical therapy and potentially some anti-inflammatories to reduce the inflammation. If you’re still in severe pain after a couple weeks it’s time to visit the ortho for a cortisone shot. Although, cortisone is extremely powerful medication which comes with extensive risks sometimes it’s all that will give these patients relief.

Can a bulging disc heal?

Professional spinal care will fast-track your recovery, most instances of mild bulging discs will heal naturally and may not require treatment. However, quicker pain relief is usually desired by patients suffering from a bulging disc

What happens if a bulging disc goes untreated?

An untreated, severe slipped disc can lead to permanent nerve damage. In very rare cases, a slipped disc can cut off nerve impulses to the cauda equina nerves in your lower back and legs. If this occurs, you may lose bowel or bladder control. While the symptoms of a slipped disc may improve, they also can worsen.

Can a chiropractor fix a bulging disc?

Chiropractors evaluate the entire spine.  Even if you only have lower back pain, your chiropractor will examine your neck, too, for example.  He or she wants to see how well your spine is functioning overall. What happens in one area of your spine can influence other parts of your spine and/or body. To treat a herniated disc, your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that may include spinal manipulation—also known as adjustments—and other chiropractic techniques to help ease your herniated disc symptoms. This will be an individualized treatment plan, but it may include manual therapy and therapeutic exercises.

The specifics of what are in your treatment plan are particular to your pain, level of activity, overall health, and what your chiropractor thinks is best.  As with any treatment option, don’t hesitate to ask questions about what chiropractic treatments are being recommended and why.  You want to make sure you understand what will be done and how it can help relieve your pain. Chiropractice treatment is safe and effective for most patients.

What causes a bulging disc in your back?

The causes of a bulging disc most often occur as a result of the wear and tear from aging, which causes degeneration of the intervertebral disc or bulging disc in the spine. Poor posture, slouching and forward head carriage may lead to weakness of the posterior fibrocartilage of the spinal discs.