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Bulging or Slipped Disc. Are They the Same?

Bulging or Slipped Disc. Are They the Same?

These terms get thrown about a lot and although they are similar, they are different. First, lets go through what a disc looks like.

What does a disc look like?

If you can imagine an inner soft circle and an outer hard circle. But for our purposes today, let’s just imagine a jam donut although it’s not exactly correct. I know, I know, I love them too! 
There is a softer inner layer (jam) and the harder outer layer (bread). Both are kept separate in the case of a disc.

The difference

Slipped Disc (Herniated, Prolapsed)- This is the worst of the two evils. In this case the jam of the disc has leaked into the bread and actually out of the disc into the world or in most cases our spine.

Bulging Disc – This is where the jam has leaked into the bread and causes a bulge. This at times can touch the spinal nerve and therefore cause pain. In others, a bulging disc will cause little or no pain. It is common with normal wear and tear to see bulging discs. Many people will report no pain and others will depending on the severity of the bulge.

(Image courtesy of Praisaeng /

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