Difference between Slipped Disc & Herniated Disc
A bunch of confusing terms describing spinal injuries confuse both the doctors and the patients. The most talked about terms are disc extrusions, prolapsed, protrusion, ruptured disc, slipped disc, herniated disc and bulging disc. All the terms refer to spinal injuries but they are often mixed up. Because of very minute difference is observed between the body conditionality of the terms, basically all of them say about the internal fibers in the spinal disc, but have the distinctive differences in the degrees of damages in that areas. Hence, it is better to have some brief idea about each of them, so that you can correctly distinguish one from other. In fact Slipped Disc & Herniated Disc is often misunderstood for each other, or sometimes either of them is mistaken for some other conditionality.
Herniated Disc commonly means injury in the spinal disc. Mostly the term is referred in place of disc protrusion. This means the disc is contained, and hence, the annular fibers are tending to interfere with the disc’s nucleus. Bulging Disc is the situation when discs bulge more than 3mm than its normal condition. Extrusion is one type of herniation; in this condition the protrusion distance exceeds more than its base. Formerly the condition was known to be prolapse, which is a non-contained disc with the radically torn annular fibers, allowing free-fragmenting or sequestering of nuclear material into the spinal canal. Of late the term is no more used for describing any spinal injury. Portrusion is also another type of herniation; in this condition the distance is lesser than its width’s base. And finally, the Ruptured Disc, the common name for describing any spinal injury, is known for having the implications of great trauma.
Slipped disc is a common phrase among the patients of spinal injury. The medical fraternity does not go with this term, because spinal disc can never ‘slip’. To make it more clearly, discs act as cushions for the vertebrae of our spine. A tough cartilage covers the outer layer as the cover / support for the soft cartilage at the center. This softer cartilage is just like jelly dough nuts in a miniature form to support the vertebrae. This means there is no chance of any disk to get slipped out from this spinal structure.
Herniated Disc is the result of a crack in the tougher outer layer of our cartilage, allowing our inner cartilage to get protruded out of the disk. This protrusion is commonly found in a particular area of the disk and not affecting a large area of the disk. Sometimes this conditionality is mixed up with slipped disc or ruptured disc. But it needs to be understood the actual medical condition of a prolapsus disci intervertebralis (spinal disc herniation). The situation is completely different from other types of spinal injury. It is the tear in the outer annulus fibrous (fibrous ring) due to unknown or idiopathic / injuries for lifting / trauma related problems. The situation must not be understood as any disc has slipped out to create the condition of ‘slip disc’.