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Herniated Disc vs Bulging Disc: What's the Difference?

Our Chiropractor In Kenosha WI Treats Herniated Discs & Bulging Discs

Dr. Janet Jeranek has been a chiropractor in Kenosha, WI for well over 2 decades. In that time, she's spent a lot of time educating her patients about human anatomy. Why? Understanding how your spine and the rest of your body functions can help you take a more active role in your injury recovery--and injury prevention, for that matter.

One of the most common areas of confusion she sees relates to spinal disc problems. The terms "disc herniation" and "disc bulge" sound similar, however the underlying injuries are a bit different.

The Difference Between A Herniated Disc & A Bulging Disc

There are 2 main types of disc injuries:

  • With a bulging disc, the gel-like fluid in the middle of the disc literally bulges out of place. This is sort of like squeezing a jelly donut so that the inside jelly moves out of place, but remains inside the dough.
  • With a herniated disc, the gel-like fluid actually leaks through a tear in the outer tougher layer of the disc. This is akin to the jelly from inside the donut leaking out.

When a disc herniates or bulges, the abnormally-shaped injured disc may put pressure on nearby spinal joints, nerves, ligaments, and other tissues. This can lead to a variety of symptoms that fluctuate a lot in intensity and type from person to person. The most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Back ache and stiffness
  • Spinal muscle spasm and tightness
  • Leg pain, numbness, and/or weakness (if the disc is pinching a spinal nerve)

A spinal disc may bulge or herniate because of wear and tear with aging, poor posture, or a strained back from repeated spine flexion and extension. Smoking, being sedentary, and being overweight can also increase your risk of a disc problem.

Fortunately, both herniated discs and bulging discs can benefit from chiropractic care. Depending on the degree of injury, a disc herniation may take longer to heal. In either case, however, it's almost always clinically indicated to seek out conservative management first before exploring the idea of surgical intervention (which is typically beneficial in extreme cases only, especially if a person has severe leg pain symptoms).

Call Our Chiropractor in Kenosha Today!

Are you struggling with back pain and other symptoms caused by a disc problem? If so, you should call our chiropractor in Kenosha today at (262) 694-7833 to schedule your appointment. We look forward to meeting with you!

(262) 694-7833

7505 41st Avenue, Kenosha, Wi, 53142, USA

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  • "My problems started two years ago and I couldn’t walk, I was stuck on a walker, almost bent in half. Dr. Jeranek has helped me very much. I feel better, I walk better, straighter, and without a walker, it’s a night and day difference. I would highly recommend seeing her."
    Myrna J. (female 82)
  • "I had a sore lower back for about a year and sore knees for about 4-5 years before I started seeing Dr. Janet Jeranek. Dr. Jeranek’s rehabilitative Chiropractic care has significantly improved my back pain and both my knees have shown very little pain lately. I am very happy that I can do all of my normal activities with more flexibility with very little pain."
    Ralph M. (Male 75)
  • "I am a semi truck driver and the seat bounces me around. The MRI showed that I messed up my discs in my lower back, I have been suffering from lower back pain for years. I started noticing numbness, tingling, and weakness in my left leg a few weeks ago. So I called Dr. Jeranek and she got me in right away. Now I am feeling great with not leg tingling, weakness, or numbness. Give her a try, you will be glad you did!"
    David B (Male 50)