A bulging disc is a common condition of the spine. While a lot of people use the term interchangeably with a slipped disc or herniated disc, these conditions have unique identifying characteristics and defining traits. Depending on the severity, a bulging disc can be an asymptomatic normal sign of aging, or it can cause significant pain.
A bulging disc extends beyond the ridges of the endplate or ring apophyses — the edge of the disc, though this depends on how much of the disc is affected. When it affects less than 25 percent of the disc's circumference, it is a protrusion. When it affects more than 25 percent, it is a bulge. Interestingly, neither of these is considered a herniation.
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