What’s the Difference Between Herniated Disk and Bulging Disk Injuries?

Herniated disk and bulging disk injuries are sometimes confused but they are different conditions. You may suffer a herniated disk after an auto accident.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a herniated disk occurs when one of the disks, which are rubbery cushions between the individual bones, is injured.

A spinal disk often compared to a jelly donut. It has a soft center but is surrounded by a tougher exterior. A herniated disk injury is also referred to as a slipped disk or a ruptured disk. It occurs following an automobile wreck if some of the softer ‘jelly’ in the interior pushes out via a tear in the tougher exterior.

The majority of herniated disks occur in your lower back (lumbar spine). The injury can also occur in your neck (cervical spine).

This can be an extremely painful injury. The herniated disk can impact nearby nerves and cause serious pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg.

a herniated disk

A herniated disk may be a serious condition

However, we also see cases when people involved in a wreck feel no symptoms from a herniated disk. Most people who suffer a herniated disk don’t need surgery to correct the problem, but it may be required in some cases.

Some Symptoms of a Herniated Disk

  • Pain in the arm and leg.If you end up with a herniated disk in your lower back area, you may feel strong pain in your thigh, buttocks, and calf. The pain may also spread to part of the foot. If your herniated disk is located in the neck area, the worst pain is likely to be in your shoulder and arm. In some instances such as when you cough, the pain may shoot into your arm or leg.
  • Tingling or numbness.Car accident victims who have a herniated disk may experience numbness or tingling in parts of their body served by the affected nerves.
  • Muscle Weakness.Muscles linked to the affected nerves may weaken. This could cause you to stumble, or affect your ability to lift or hold items.

A bulging disk is also known as a protruding disk. This is a common problem. However, a bulging disk can cause discomfort and disability in many parts of the body if the disk compresses an adjacent nerve root or the spinal cord itself.

Bulging disks are more common in older people. As we age, the exterior fibrous portion of our discs often weakens. Pressure applied from the center of the disc can radiate to the outer rim, causing the disc to bulge out If the condition is left untreated, the disk may continue to bulge until it ruptures. This condition is classified as a herniated disk.

You may suffer a bulging disk without being in an accident. Many people have bulging discs without realizing it because symptoms are not always apparent. As long as a bulging area does not press against the nearby nerve, you won’t experience symptoms.

If a bulging disc hits a pinched nerve, you may start to feel pain in the lower back, the damaged disc can also cause pain to radiate to the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet.

If you have been involved in a car wreck in Newnan or elsewhere in Georgia, you should seek legal assistance. Call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.