Disc Protrusion and Extrusion – Six Differences

1. What is a Disc Protrusion?

A disc protrusion happens when the spinal disc protrudes out into the spinal column. This condition is sometimes also called a bulging disc. 

2. What is a Disc Extrusion?

A disc extrusion happens when the hard outer layer of the spinal disc tears, ruptures, or cracks allowing the soft gel-like inner layer of the disc to seep out of the disc and into the spinal column. It is sometimes also called a herniated disc. A disc extrusion is a type of disc protrusion because the disc is protruding out into the spinal column. 

3. What Are the Causes?

The natural aging process causes the spinal discs to weaken, dehydrate and become brittle. The discs are then more likely to protrude into the spinal column due to the pressure and stress exerted on the spine. The hard outer layer is also more likely to tear or rupture, leading to a disc extrusion. This condition can also be caused by an injury or trauma. Repetitive motion, contact sports, a car accident, or being overweight can all lead to deterioration and eventually disc protrusion and extrusion. 

4. What Are The Symptoms of a Disc Extrusion or Disc Protrusion?

Symptoms can include localized pain at the site of the disc extrusion or protrusion, radiating pain, sciatica pain, numbness, loss of flexibility, stiffness, tingling, or muscle weakness. 

5. What Are Conservative Treatment Options for a Disc Protrusion or Disc Extrusion?

Whether you have either of these conditions, the first line of treatment is a combination of conservative options. These can include rest, pain medication, exercise and stretching, physical therapy, steroid injections, massage, and chiropractic care.

6. How Do You Treat These Conditions if Conservative Treatment Doesn’t Work 

For most people, a combination of conservative treatment options will control symptoms, but if you are still experiencing painful symptoms that are disrupting your life after a few months, contact BEST Health System to find out more about minimally invasive spine surgery for a disc extrusion or protrusion. If left untreated, a disc protrusion or extrusion can lead to permanent nerve or muscle damage. 

How We Can Help

BEST Health System performs minimally invasive procedures to treat disc protrusions and extrusions. To find out if you are a candidate for one of our procedures, contact us today. For more information about our minimally invasive procedures, reach out to BEST Health System today.