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What is the Difference Between Bulging Disc and Herniated Disc?

Chiropractic Clinics of South Florida has Your Answer and Treatment.

You’ve probably heard the terms bulging disc and herniated disc before. And, chances are, you know they both have to do with something in your spine. But do you know both can be painful but are they the same?

In a word: Nope.

While they both affect the discs in your spine, bulging discs and herniated discs are not two terms for the same condition.

What’s the difference? Here’s what you should know about bulging discs vs. herniated discs.

What Are the Key Differences Between a Bulging Disc and a Herniated Disc?

Your spine comprises bones (called vertebrae) and rubbery discs stacked on top of one another, forming the spinal canal.

The bundle of nerves (called the spinal cord) runs down the spinal canal’s length.

The discs in your spine function like shock absorbers in a car, but they are between the vertebrae.

These discs are made of two components: a softer center (called nucleus pulposus) surrounded by a tough elastic-like band (called annulus fibrosus).

We will explain by going back to the car scenario. When you have a bulging disc, it resembles letting the air out of the car’s tire. The disc is intact, but it sags and bulges out from the spine’s structure.

With a herniated disc, the out sac or lining of the disc has a hole or a tear in it. It causes the nucleus pulpous (jelly-like cent of the disc) to leak into the spinal canal.

How Can I Treat a Bulging Disc?

Like most things in life, the disc deteriorates and bulges downward when the body ages, so age-related degeneration is usually the culprit of a bulging disc. With degeneration, there is usually a progressive, gradual onset of symptoms.

It can cause pain in the buttocks, legs, or back. Thus, affecting your ability to walk and stand for long periods.

It is prevalent for bulging discs to affect multiple discs. This condition develops over time and can cause other disc degeneration-related issues, such as lumbar stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal).

Luckily, there is a broad spectrum of treatment options. Short-term treatment can mean taking anti-inflammatory medications, especially during flare-ups.
Steroid injections are another option if there is significant nerve pain.

Long-term treatment usually involves a self-directed exercise program that you start with a physical therapist and then transition to doing at home.

If the pain due to the bulging discs has caused lumbar stenosis and those symptoms affect your quality of life, surgery (called lumbar decompression) is an option for those who have suffered and led to a deterioration of life activities.

The procedure is very patient-specific and is based on the type and level of stenosis and can require months of recovery of which is not conducive for many people.

Most patients shy away from having surgery or invasive procedure; that is why chiropractic care is a primary option for patients who periodically suffer and require continuous care.

If bulging disc pain is causing you to miss out on your routine, active lifestyle, check out our team of doctors dedicated to a more conservative set of treatments.

Our team provides physical therapy, massage therapy, and minimally invasive procedures that may help you find relief from neck and back pain.

How Can I Treat a Herniated Disc?

Most of the pain from a herniated disc comes on abruptly and usually affects one individual nerve root.

An acute injury sometimes causes herniated discs.
This could result from a car accident, slip and fall accident, or a work-related accident.

As with bulging discs, there are several options to treat herniated discs.

First, suppose you’ve experienced symptoms for less than six weeks and have no nerve damage.

In that case, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, medical massage therapy, and steroid injections (if needed) can possibly help resolve the issue in 6 to 12 weeks.

Unfortunately, for most people a herniated disc will require lifetime treatment and education from a chiropractor that works dually with many orthopedic physicians.

What Makes Chiropractic Clinics of South Florida different than other Chiropractors?

Chiropractic care can be a great way to manage and relieve swelling and pain caused by a neck or back pain. Chiropractic Care of South Florida takes pride in our many facets of care such as Massage Therapist, Physiotherapy team, and Spinal decompression.

Massage increases the body’s supply of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, which help release waste from the muscle tissue.

Physiotherapy aims to maximize the quality of life through a range of treatment techniques designed to restore movement and function within the body. It aims to help individuals develop, maintain, and restore maximum movement and functional ability. Typical treatment consists of modalities (such as ultrasound or laser) and exercise and stretching advice. Physiotherapy is used to treat almost all muscle and joint conditions.

Spinal decompression works by gently stretching the spine over a period of several treatments. The idea is that the spinal decompression technique changes the force and position of the spine. With this it changes the pressure off the spinal disks by creating negative pressure in the disc. As a result, bulging or herniated disks may retract, taking pressure off the nerves and other structures in your spine. This in turn, helps promote movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal while reducing your overall pain. It is advised by most physicians to utilize nonsurgical spinal decompression to treat back or neck pain or sciatica, bulging or herniated disk, degenerative disk disease, worn spinal joints, and injured or diseased spinal nerve roots.

We have been in business for years and we take pride in helping individuals recover from traumatic injuries. Transportation is never a problem and can be provided if you or someone in your family has difficulty in getting to one of our clinics.

With seven convenient locations in the South Florida region including Kendall, Miami Airport, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, and West Palm Beach finding a place to recover is near your home or work.

Regardless of if your neck or back pain involves a personal injury such as a slip and fall, an automobile accident, boating accident, trucking accident or due to negligent security, degeneration due to age advancement our offices are suited to help you receive the treatment you deserve.

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