A bulging disc is diagnosed when the tough, outer layer of a spinal disc weakens and stretches, thereby allowing the inner, jellylike center of the disc to bulge outward. The symptoms of a bulged spinal disc occur when this inner disc material affects the nerves of the spine. A herniated disc is a more serious situation in which the outer layer of the disc tears and allows the disc’s materials to move significantly out of its shell and closer to the spinal cord.
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