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Herniated Discs, Pinched Nerves, and Bulging Discs

by Dr. Jeff Lamberth

Bulging Herniated Disc

Back pain is no fun at all, but even worse, it can prevent you from enjoying the things you love. Depending on the severity of your back problems, you may even have limited mobility. But is it a herniated disc, a pinched nerve, or a bulging disc?

Disc Pain

Disc bulges and herniated discs are often thought of as the same condition, probably because there is no universally-accepted precise definition regarding these terms, but generally, a herniated disc is an injury to the outer layer of the disc—the annulus fibrosus—that causes the inner material to leak out, while a bulging disc is still contained within the outer layer.

Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve is the result of a symptomatic herniated disc. The pain is caused by material leaking out of the disc and irritating or “pinching” a nerve nearby. Also called nerve root pain, a pinched nerve may cause you to experience shooting pain from your low back down your leg (a.k.a. sciatica) or from your neck down your arm. Bone spurs and spinal stenosis can cause a pinched nerve.

Treating Disc Problems

Many disc problems can be treated with a decompressive therapy called non-surgical spinal decompression. You should consult a chiropractor if you have back pain, even if the pain subsides, because it could still cause problems within your body.

Learn more about Spinal Decompression

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