You may think a bulging disc is the same as a herniated disc, but there is a difference. With a herniated disc, a crack occurs in the outer layer of the disc, called the annulus. The crack usually affects a small part of the disc, and it allows the soft inner material of the nucleus pulposus to rupture out of the disc. A bulging disc is different because the disc simply bulges outside the space it normally occupies between your vertebrae, but it doesn't rupture. A bulging disc affects a much larger part of the disc than a herniated disc. While it is more common to have a bulging disc than a herniated disc, a herniated disc is more likely to be painful. It's possible for you to have a bulging disc without feeling any pain at all.
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