What exactly is a disc in the spine?
Spinal discs are layers of cartilage that are located in between the spine’s vertebrae. They act as cushions for the vertebrae. Discs are composed of two layers of cartilage: a tougher, outer layer that encases a softer, inner layer.
What is the difference between herniated discs and bulging discs?
A herniated disc is a disc that has a crack in its outer layer of cartilage. The soft, inner layer of cartilage is able to seep through this crack and protrude out of the disc. Herniated discs are often painful. Herniated discs are also known as slipped or ruptured discs.
A bulging disc is a disc that bulges out of the space it normally occupies. The layer that protrudes, however, is the outer, tough cartilage. In a bulging disc, this layer isn’t cracked, so the inner, soft layer doesn’t seep out. Bulging discs are more common than herniated discs, but bulging discs usually aren’t painful.
What treatments are available for a bulging disc?
There are several ways to treat a bulging disc. In many cases, patients simply need to avoid lifting heavy items, rest for a little while, and make lifestyle changes, such as losing weight. Along with chiropractic adjustments, we may include the following in your treatment plan:
- stretches that increase the spine’s flexibility
- specific exercises
- spinal decompression therapy