You’ve probably heard the terms bulging disc or herniated disc at some point, whether it involved you or someone you knew. While those words can strike fear in a lot of people, it’s important to understand what they really mean, and remove the scary presumptions we have about them, as well know what’s “normal” and what’s not when it comes to our discs.
Within the spine you have numerous structures, but the two we’re focusing on here are your vertebrae (the individual bones of the spine), and the discs (the cartilage ‘cushion’ in between each of those vertebrae). These discs act as shock absorbers that allow your spine to move in different directions and deal with regular impact without damaging the other spinal structures.
So, what is a bulging disc and what is a herniated disc?