A disc bulges when a portion of the entire disc presses outwards. Most often this will not cause pain, however the disc is weakened and left untreated, it will worsen over time.
A disc herniates when a portion of the inner disc(nucleus pulposa) breaks through the outer cartilage. Most individuals may not realize they have a herniated disc until the onset of pain. Unless a patient had a trauma, herniated discs occur because of overuse and not maintaining a spine for decades. If not trauma induced, a herniation will normally take two decades to form.
The annular fibers are thin layers of cartilage which surround the jelly(nucleus pulposus) of a disc. Through trauma or the aging process, these fibers can tear. If left untreated, these tears can worsen and lead to herniations or ever a more severe condition. There is much that can be done to help a tear heal without the use of surgery.
NOTE:If you have already been diagnosed with a herniated, bulging or degenerative disc, do not wait. The disc continues to breakdown without specialized Chiropractic care. Florida Spine and Disc Institute are leaders in identifying and preventing further damage to the discs with Spinal Decompression, gentle Chiropractic treatment and other passive therapies