What is the difference between protrusion and herniated disc?

Protrusion and herniated disc, represent a pathological process involving the discs of the spine. The causes and the symptomatic picture of both pathologies are similar.

What is a protrusion?

Bulging of the disc beyond the line of the spine is a protrusion. The disease is diagnosed mostly in people in the age group of 30 years. A distinctive feature is the preservation of the integrity of the fibrous core.

This process is the first stage of degenerative changes of the disc and precedes the appearance of a hernia. Can occur in any region of the spine. To distinguish the formed protrusion or herniation, can only be a doctor based on medical examination results.

What is a hernia?

Disc herniation is the process of rupture of the fibrous ring with subsequent displacement of the nucleus and bulging disc. May occur on any area of the spine but is more common pathology in the lumbar spine.

This is because in the lumbar region accounts for a large degree of physical exertion. The first symptoms of disease – pain in the back, localized in the place of the hernial education, limited movement.

What is the protrusion from the hernia?

The difference in the nature of the manifestations of both processes is minimal. The main difference between the protrusion and hernia is that in the first case, the protrusion applies only to disk, while its internal structures are intact.

When a hernia first occurs rupture of the fibrous ring, which presses on the cartilaginous tissue of the disk, because of what he is outside of the spine. Initially the protrusion, if this pathology is not treated, it can escalate into an intervertebral hernia.


The first symptom is pain in the place where the pathological process is localized. The pain is worse during exercise and any movement, because the bulging disc compresses the nerve endings roots. Deteriorating General condition of the patient due to the pressure of the pathological formation in the blood vessels. This is a common signs of protrusion. Symptomatic presentation depends on what area of the spine has any disease.

Hernia, protrusion, treatment Hernia, a protrusion, treatment

What is protrusion of the spine and why it is confused with a hernia. Neurosurgery Zorin Nikolai


Pathology in the cervical spine manifested by the following features:

  • frequent headaches;
  • painful and uncomfortable sensation in the neck;
  • the feeling of stiffness;
  • limitation of physical function;
  • numbness spreading to the shoulders and upper extremities that are felt in the fingers;
  • weakness in the arms.

With the gradual development of a pathological process pain, with the neck gradually spreading to the thorax, gives a shovel.


The nature of the symptomatic picture:

  • the pain and constant discomfort in the upper back, between the shoulder blades;
  • stiffness throughout the spine;
  • the emergence of a sense of numbness in the chest.

The pain is worse in the morning after a night’s sleep when a person for a long time without movement.


Evident protrusion of this division the following characteristics:

  • pain in the lumbar region;
  • the spread of pain to the lower extremities;
  • muscle weakness in the legs;
  • the common feeling running through the skin tingling, numbness.

In the exacerbation of the pathological process patient’s General condition becomes worse, pressing on nerve endings bulging disc leads to violations from the work of the urinary system, which is manifested by symptoms of rapid, difficult and painful urination.


Disc protrusion of the spine occurs due to the presence of the following triggering factors:

  • the trauma and injuries of the spine;
  • the development of osteochondrosis;
  • curvature of the spine – scoliosis, kyphosis, etc.;
  • the presence of hemangioma – benign;
  • violated the metabolism;
  • passive lifestyle, lack of regular physical activity;
  • osteoporosis;
  • the presence of excess weight and obesity;
  • disease spondylitis;
  • arthritis rheumatoid type.

The risk group includes the following categories of people:

  1. 1Person with a genetic predisposition.
  2. 2Increases the likelihood of development of pathological process in the presence of the patient unhealthy habits such as Smoking and alcohol abuse.
  3. 3the Risk of disease is higher with age. This is because all metabolic processes in the body, gradually slowing down, regeneration of tissue is slow.
  4. 4Subject of the pathology of people who are professionally engaged in power sports, in which you need to lift heavy loads.

In most cases, a bulging disc caused by diseases of the spine, as habit, age, and metabolic disorders are aggravating factors.

The types of protrusion

Depending on which side happened the protrusion of the intervertebral disc and what is the nature of the pathological education, we distinguish 4 types of the protrusion. According to the type of protrusion, the protrusion is:

  • circular extrusion (the extrusion) of the disk is uniform throughout its surface;
  • paramedicine – protrusion of the back in the lumbar spine.

This type of the disease called posterior. The disc of the spine bulges to the rear direction from the line of the spine. There is a hole in the spinal canal. Dorsal protrusion is medial and foraminal.

This is the most dangerous form of the disease, because the bulging disc puts pressure on the roots of nerve endings and can cause the development of neurology with severe symptomatic picture.

Often, because of lack of timely treatment comes sequestration – the severe form of hernial protrusions.


Abnormal protrusion occurs in the right or left side of the spine. This is the most secure form of a protrusion, which rarely leads to the formation of hernial education. But it is provided that the treatment is conducted in a timely manner. Distinguishing feature – the absence of or weakly expressed in the symptomatic picture, the neurological abnormalities are observed.


In this type of pathology bulging disc is forward of the spine. This kind of disease is extremely rare. The symptomatic picture, making it impossible for early detection of pathology. The likelihood of complications is missing.


Protrusion and hernia of the spinal pathological conditions, closely related, therefore, only the timely treatment of bulging disc can prevent the development of hernia accompanied with rupture of the fibrous ring.

The protrusion conservative therapy, comprehensive, including a number of therapeutic interventions: medication, use of physiotherapy and special massagers. Allowed the use of folk techniques as adjuvant therapy for the relief of the symptomatic picture.

Includes treatment and compliance with diet. From the diet excludes junk food: fried and fatty meals, spices and herbs. In the diet should be high in fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meats and fish. It is important to observe the correct drinking regime and drink at least 2 liters of water. Alcohol is strictly prohibited.

At the time of treatment of protrusion necessary to reduce the intensity of physical activity. Athletes are advised to temporarily withdraw from the exercise or decrease the level of physical activity, not to provoke complications.


After the diagnosis, during which the specified stage of development of the pathological process, the size and exact location of the education, prescribed drugs.

Used in the treatment and medicines of the local spectrum – gels and ointments. Such medications quickly stop the pain, eliminate the inflammation and swelling of soft tissues, accelerate the healing process.Appointed medicines – non-steroidal drugs that promote rapid relief of inflammation. As a result of their exposure to the roots of the nerve endings are released from under pressure, whereby the General condition of the patient improves. In the presence of such symptoms as a feeling of stiffness and painful muscle spasms, prescribers belonging to the same group of muscle relaxants.

In the presence of severe pain that fails to stop the medication, put a blockade injection of strong pain medication (Lidocaine or Novocaine) directly into the region of localization of the pathological process.

Surgery protrusion is rare. Most often surgery is required when the rapid development of the pathological process, intensive symptomatic picture, the high risks of complications and the lack of positive dynamics from conservative treatment.


Bezoperatsionnye methods of treatment of protrusion include exercises physical therapy, physical therapy techniques and lessons on special simulators. All this contributes to the elimination of pain, normalization of the status and functioning of the spine, relieving pressure on the nerve endings and blood vessels.

Recommended patients the massage, but it needs to be carried out only by a specialist, because any wrong move can lead to some severe complications. Of physiotherapy the preference of magnetic therapy, ultrasound therapy, electrophoresis with drugs of anti-inflammatory action.

Selecting treatment methods, the patient is mandatory consults a neurologist. When a conservative pinched nerve treatments may have contraindications.

Folk remedies

To eliminate pain in the spine with the development of pathology, following traditional medicines:

  1. 1Peeled head of garlic, pour a glass of alcohol or vodka, infused for 10 days in a container of thick glass. Prepared tincture has the consistency similar to porridge. The product is applied to the place where the pain is localized, closed top foil and is fixed with a towel or a thick cloth. The course of treatment – 2 times a week for 1 month.
  2. 2Cut the leaves of Kalanchoe are applied to the back, where there is disc protrusion, fixed to the sheet using adhesive tape. This compress is recommended to put on all night.

Any traditional methods are only auxiliary treatment and are used only with the permission of the attending physician.


The exercises of physiotherapy are the most effective means of conservative treatment. Charging is first performed only under the supervision of a physiotherapist. Once the patient has learned correct technique he can do independently at home. Effective exercises:

  1. Lie on your back, arms stretched along the torso, the legs bend. Slowly, without sudden movements to tear off pelvis from the floor, leaning on the shoulder. To stay in this position for a few seconds, lower the pelvis on the floor, repeat 5-10 times.
  2. to Get on all fours, my entire body weight to move on your palms and knee joints. Simultaneously raise left foot and right hand to linger for a few seconds. Repeat the exercise with your right foot and left hand. The number of sets from 5 to 10.
  3. to Lie on your stomach, hands pull along the trunk. From the starting position you want to lift from the floor of the hands, chest and head. Freeze in this position for a few seconds to get down on the floor, repeat.
  4. Lying on your back, upper limb to put along the body, legs bent at the knees. Being in this position, it is necessary, without holding the breath, rhythmically stretch and relax the abdominal muscles.
These exercises are shared. Physical therapy paints the doctor, picking up a personalized exercise program (depending on which division of the vertebral column arose protrusion).


Protrusion – pathology of the spine that occurs due to the presence of untreated disease and poor lifestyle. There are a number of preventative measures, compliance with which will help prevent the development of the protrusion.

In the life of every man, who carefully monitor their health, should be regular exercise. Preference it is recommended to give such disciplines as swimming, Pilates, yoga. If an athlete engaged in power sports, it is important to distribute the strain on the back. If you want to use special bandages under heavy loads.

You should not perform contact sports and games – basketball, volleyball, in which often and jump high, because this will increase the likelihood of development of degenerative changes in the spinal column are the most common cause of the protrusion.

If the professional activities of a person associated with a long sitting at the computer, you can’t slouch and hunch, this will lead to a curvature of the spine, and risks of the protrusion will increase.

In order not to create excessive load on the back, you need to carry weights in both hands. It is also recommended to keep normal weight and avoid rapid set. Proper diet, refusal of harmful habits such as Smoking and excessive use of alcoholic beverages, walking in the fresh air – also measures of prevention.

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3 thoughts on “What is the difference between protrusion and herniated disc?

  1. Lying on your back, upper limb to put along the body, legs bent at the knees. Being in this position, it is necessary, without holding the breath, rhythmically stretch and relax the abdominal muscles.

  2. This post details so much more information than other people, and it’s very useful to me. Will return to read future writing from you! can I share this?

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