Back pain can be debilitating! It can cause issues with most daily activities including standing, walking, bending and changing positions. Along with the flu, it is one of the most common and believable reasons for taking a sick day in the U.S. It is also the leading cause of disability worldwide with almost 80% of people experiencing it at least once in their lives.
Causes of acute back pain mainly include strains and pulled muscles in the lower back which typically arise from improper form while lifting heavy loads. Other causes of back pain include herniated discs and bulging discs. This may be slightly more unfavorable to the integrity of the spine because herniated or bulging discs increase the likelihood of a compressed nerve root in the spine which can lead to more serious issues. The spine is made of vertebrae which are separated by fibrous discs with a gel-like center which serve to allow movement and stability of the spine. A disc bulge or herniation simply occurs when the gel-like substance within the discs protrude out of its walls due to injury or gradual degeneration overtime.
In reality, a disc herniation refers to the latter stages of a bulging disc where the bulge is so far out of position that it compresses a nerve root causing pain and abnormal sensations to corresponding limbs.
Herniated discs and bulging discs are usually mistaken for one another. Here are 3 ways to differentiate between the two.