Back pain is never ideal, and a lot of back pain is associated with the discs in the lower back. The discs in the back are associated with the spine and can be painful when there is a problem with them. You may have heard about bulging discs and herniated discs. Many people use these terms interchangeably. However, they are very different conditions that can have an impact on your back and can cause severe pain. Here is what you need to know:
What Is the Difference Between a Bulging Disc and a Herniated Disc?
A bulging disc occurs when the disc from the spine compresses a nerve in the spine. The disc is meant to serve as a cushion between each vertebra. When you age, the discs can become strained. They can also become strained by injuries, lack of proper exercise, bad posture, or overuse. Actions like bending, lifting, and continued standing can all cause a bulging disc. The disc remains intact, unlike a herniated disc. You may not have much pain with a bulging disc, but the pain may be severe. It all depends on the individual.
A herniated disc is a spinal disc that has weakened and places pressure on the spinal cord. This is what causes pain. This can be a debilitating medical condition that causes a lot of pain. You can not only experience pain in your lower back, but also in your legs, neck, arms, and shoulders.
There are different types of herniated discs. Some herniated discs are those that rupture the spine disc and break away into the spinal canal. Other herniated discs occur when the disc stretches and bulges into the spinal canal.
How Do You Treat Bulging and Herniated Discs?
There are several treatment options for both bulging discs and herniated discs. Inflammation is common in both conditions and can be treated with injections, heat and cold treatment, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatment. You can also help both conditions by changing your diet, losing weight, quitting smoking, and exercising.
If you have a herniated disc, you also have some surgical options depending on the level of your condition. Your doctor can opt for either a spinal fusion or a microdiscectomy. A spinal fusion fuses the vertebra together to reduce the movement of the bones and ease the pain. In a microdiscectomy, the doctor will make a small incision into the back to decompress the herniation. There also may be some stem cell therapies available to treat your condition.
Find out more about back pain management.