Understand Your Back Pain Diagnosis

posted by Dr. Ron Nusbaum, Back Clinics of Canada

Here is the Back Clinics Question of the Week

This week a patient requested clarity about the cause of their severe low back pain.

What is the difference between a Bulging Disc and a Herniated Disc? And how did I get it?

It’s important to understand what is causing your back pain or neck pain. It adds to your understanding that you can heal, and that the treatment you are receiving is designed for your condition.

Both diagnoses indicate that a spinal disc has been injured.

Bulging Disc: In the case of a bulging disc, the tough outer fibrous layers of the spinal disc, called the annulus, have a weak spot. The inner contents of the disc (a gelatinous protein substance called the nucleus pulposa), which are held under great pressure, move toward this weak spot and press against it. This causes a bulge in the disc. The bulge itself may be asymptomatic or painful. If the bulge presses against an adjacent nerve, the nerve will become irritated. This may result in additional symptoms of pain or illness depending upon which nerve is affected, where it leads to and what purpose it serves.

Herniated Disc: In the case of a herniated disc, the tough outer fibrous layers of the spinal disc may have a tear. As a result of this tear, the inner gelatinous contents of the disc move against the tear (which is now a very weak spot in the outer wall) and may push through. So the central gel-like part of the disc protrudes beyond the disc wall. As with a bulge, there are a number of possible symptoms if the protrusion presses against adjacent nerves. This may include severe pain, numbness, tingling, burning, radiculitis (pain down a limb) and even weakness.

Cause of Disc Bulge or Herniation: Spinal discs, which are like cushions, have three main purposes. They are designed to keep each pair of vertebrae separate. They allow for movement in all planes including flexion, extension and rotation. They absorb pressure from compression and torsion. A disc bulge or herniation can be caused by a traumatic injury or accident that causes extreme pressure on the fibrous disc layers, from sports or heavy lifting while rotating, or from natural degeneration that comes with age.

Treatment: In some cases discs can heal. When a person suffers a disc injury, they should see a back expert. In the meantime they should get a lot of rest, especially lying on their back or side if the injury is to a lower back (lumbar) disc. Many people prefer to have pillows under their knees if they lay on their back, or between the knees if they lay on their side. Avoid forward flexion. It’s also helpful to change your position often, especially if you must sit. Avoid any heavy lifting. Proper nutrition rich with omega fatty aids and other important nutrients can support disc healing. Since surgery is not always the right option, a doctor can provide care with non-invasive therapies like non-surgical spinal decompression and Class IV K-laser therapy.

Dr. Ron Nusbaum, founder of Back Clinics of Canada, offers safe, non-invasive treatment that treats the very spinal discs requiring care. The High Performance Healing SystemTM combines advanced technology, proprietary nutrition supplementation and precision treatment that delivers targeted healing at the cellular level for remarkable success.

About Dr. Ron Nusbaum

As CEO of Back Clinics of Canada, I remain steadfast in my commitment to helping patients heal from serious neck pain and back pain to reclaim an active, pain-free life. We offer the most advanced, cutting-edge, non-invasive treatments, including Class IV K-laser therapy and non-surgical spinal decompression. Our unique High Performance Healing System consistently results in high success outcomes for patients.
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