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Bulging versus herniation

doctor diagnose spine lumber vertebrae x-ray image

Difference between a bulging disc and a herniated disc

A bulging disc occurs when the outer fibrous layer of an intervertebral disc swells outward uniformly, beyond the space it normally occupies between two vertebrae. It is essentially an “out-pouching” of the disc.  A herniated disc, sometimes referred to as a “ruptured” or “slipped” disc, occurs when a tear in the outer fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc allows the soft, central portion to bulge out.

In lay terms, a bulging disc is simply when a spinal disc has become swollen or shifted out of place.  A herniated disc is when the disc has been seriously damaged, likely permanently.

One of the biggest misconceptions Lookout Law faces amongst jurors and insurance adjusters  in vehicle accidents is the notion that a herniated disc is nothing more than “whiplash.”  Having represented clients with herniations for two decades, we can confidently say that we’d rather have a compound fracture to our arm than a single herniated disc.  Herniations terrorize or at least nag people for the rest of their lives.  Often the symptoms from the herniation get worse as you age–not better.

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