Herniated or bulging discs between vertebrae compress nerve roots

When a spinal disc weakens or is injured, it may leak its contents or protrude beyond the vertebrae, resulting in a herniated or bulging disc. This may cause nerve compression that leads to pain, tingling, burning and loss of mobility.

While the terms “herniated” and “bulging” discs are used interchangeably, there are key differences between the two conditions.

How they are different

Spinal discs cushion and protect the vertebrae. Herniated and bulging discs can result from injury to the spine, poor lifting techniques, poor posture or normal wear and tear.

In these conditions, the outer wall of the spinal disc weakens, allowing the gel-like inner fluid to push the wall out beyond the circumference of the vertebrae.

A herniated disc occurs when the outer wall ruptures, allowing the fluid to enter into the spinal canal, while the inner fluid of a bulging disc pushes the disc wall into the spaces around the vertebrae. Nerve roots exiting the spinal column through the vertebrae are vulnerable to pinching by these intrusions, which may cause debilitating pain.


If you have a herniated or bulging disc, your physician may prescribe a nonsurgical course of treatment that may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory steroid injections
  • Pain medication
  • Hot and cold therapy to reduce swelling and pain
  • Rest
  • Lifestyle changes

Not every patient will respond well to conservative treatments. If your physician has decided that surgery may be your best option, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery can treat painful spine conditions without the risks and lengthy recovery time^ associated with traditional open spine surgery.

Our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures are performed using small incisions on an outpatient basis, which means patients can avoid the several nights of hospitalization often associated with traditional open neck or back surgery.

Our minimally invasive outpatient procedures also carry a lower risk of infection and complication than open neck or back surgeries.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost MRI review* and find out if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.