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What's the Difference Between Bulging & Herniated Disks? March 27, 2019

Manhattan, New York City, NY
What's the Difference Between Bulging & Herniated Disks?, Manhattan, New York

If you’re experiencing back pain, you may find it tricky to determine what specific malady is the root cause of your discomfort. If you can’t immediately get to a chiropractor, not knowing exactly what’s wrong can make it difficult to determine a safe and effective plan to help alleviate the pain. Bulging and herniated disks are two back-related issues that are often get confused or misunderstood. However, understanding this difference can put you in a better position to seek pain relief from the pain.

Bulging Disks

When disks in your spine dehydrate and stiffen over time, they will bulge out of their spot, causing a portion—if not all—of the disk’s perimeter to stick out too far from the area it is supposed to cushion. This outer layer becomes tough cartilage, and may put pressure on the nerves along the spine. Ultimately, this triggers pain and inflammation.

chiropractorBesides age, wear and tear can cause disks to bulge. For instances, neck or back strains following repeated activities and heavy lifting can sometimes be traced back to this condition. Poor posture and a past history of back and neck muscle complications can also lead to bulging disks.

To tide you over till your scheduled chiropractic appointment, take anti-inflammatory, over-the-counter pain relievers. When do visit a chiropractor, they will assess the spine as a whole to ensure your pain wasn’t caused by an issue in a different area of the back. Then they will provide noninvasive treatments, usually in the form of spinal adjustment techniques, to relieve symptoms and help patients heal.

Herniated Disks

A herniated disk usually occurs when the durable outer layer of the cartilage cracks, pushing the softer tissue out. Sometimes called ruptured or slipped disk, this condition tends to create more intense pain than bulging disks, as it stems from the compression or inflammation of surrounding nerves and their roots.

If you’re unable to visit your chiropractor at the first sign of symptoms, avoid staying sedentary for extended periods of time, including laying in bed for too long. Low-impact activities, like yoga, are also recommended, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers and hot or cold compresses.

Similar to their approach with bulging disks, a chiropractor will take the entire spine into account, in conjunction with the patient’s overall health. Oftentimes, working the damaged disk away from the nerves is the first step in reducing inflammation, in addition to many adjustment techniques that realign the back to relieve pain.


If you suspect your back pain is the product of a bulging or herniated disk, call the chiropractors at Pure Balance. Located in Manhattan, this practice offers effective chiropractic pain management services that address both chronic and acute pain. Call (212) 661-5656 for an appointment, or visit them online for more information on their noninvasive treatment options.

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