A Bulging Disc is not the same as a Herniated Disc, but a lot of the smptoms are the same, and in many ways they are similar.
A herniated disc is a rupture... a hernia. When the hernia occurs, the gel-like pulposa leaks from the center, and pushes against the disc outer wall. If it ruptures, a chemical is released that causes the nerves to swell. Bulging discs "bulge out" from between the vertebrae and press on the spinal cord and nerves causing mild to intense pain.
What You Notice
Pain from a bulged disk is similar to that of a herniated disc. Pain is more noticable when you're active, and seems to get better when you're resting. Coughing, sneezing, sitting, driving and bending forward may make the pain worse. The pain gets worse because these movements put more pressure on the nerve.
The location of the pain depends on which disk is weak. How bad the pain is depends on how much of the disk is pressing on the nerve. Some people have pain in both legs. In some people, the legs or feet feel numb or tingly.
What It Feels Like
• Mild or intense back pain
What To Do
You may take some over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofin or acetominaphen, but only identifying and healing the disc will help the pain actually go away. You should immediately schedule an appointment with San Diego Spine & Disc to receive anti-inflammatory WaveTherapy™ and decompression treatment to begin healing the disc.
(above) A Herniated Disc shows the pulposus ruptured through the inner disc wall, flattening out a bit and pushing against the spinal cord and nerve. The Bulged Disc, below it, is irritated, and pushing against the spinal cord. The diagram below shows how closely the disc sits next to the spinal cord.