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is there a difference

baffledbbaffled Posts: 375
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I was recently told by my PT that there is a difference between a bulge and herniation. I do understand that docs/people use this interchangeablly - but in reports is there really a difference.

another question for you....I have always had that typical lump as you feel down the back of my neck where the neck meets the back, but just above this are two small bumps. There are tendor to touch and I feel tingling into my thoracic if I press on them. I don't beleive it is a muscle know (have lots of them and it doesn't feel the same). Nect pt appt. I am going to ask my pt what she thinks....just wondering.



  • The terms are used interchangeably, but there is a difference. A herniated or ruptured disk is when the nucleus of the disk (gooey, gel stuff inside) is actually pushed out through a tear in the annulus fibrosis (the tough ring of material that surrounds the gooey stuff).

    A bulging disk is typically a disk that has been squished, and is bulging out towards the spinal canal, but the annulus fibrosis is intact (at least mostly intact) and the nucleus, although misshapen, has not actually come out of the disk.

    Both can cause the same kind of pain. Once there is a tear, the disk is compromised, even if the tear heals. Minor bulges sometimes heal themselves and go back into place, and sometimes they get worse and actually tear.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    interchangeable. There is some slight differences between the terms. Take a look at this entry from our FAQ

    Disc Terms
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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