A chiropractor treats all of these spinal disorders: normal discs, degenerative disc, bulging disc, herniated disc, thinning disc, and degenerative disc with osteophytic changes. Today, we are going to explore the differences between disc bulge and disc herniation. Discs act as cushions between the vertebrae in your spine that act as shock absorbers. They make it possible to jump up and down, move, stretch and everything else we do. Life would be very boring without our spinal discs. At birth, our discs are made up of 80% water that usually declines with age. They are composed of an outer layer of tough cartilage that surrounds softer cartilage in the center. It may help to think of them as miniature jelly doughnuts, exactly the right size to fit between your vertebrae. A bulging disc extends outside the space it should normally occupy. Imagine a hamburger is too large for the bun and comes outside of the bun. That is exactly what is happening with a disc bulge, which is usually affecting the majority of the disc. On the other hand, a herniated disc results when a crack in the outer layer allows part of the inner layer to protrude out of the disc. Many doctors and patient's refer to a herniated disc as a "slipped disc." Patients can present with a lot of pain or no pain at all, it just depends on the severity of a disc bulge/herniation. A patient who presents with severe disc symptoms usually has some sort of low back pain, radiation into glutes or thighs, and/or numbness and tingling symptoms. These type of spinal disorders are diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Your doctor will examine the MRI, diagnose your spinal condition and design a custom treatment plan to fit your needs. It is possible to reverse the symptoms you are experiencing caused by your disc bulge or disc herniation, without surgery. Our goal is to keep our patients from back surgery for as long as possible, and get them back to doing what they love! Call us today and let us be your spinal specialist!