The dreaded slipped disc back pain is something we think most people fear and we have many Chiropractic patients from Gwynedd, Conwy, Anglesey, Denbighshire and Flintshire who often comment about this. There are many times a patient will walk into The North Wales Spine Clinic and say they think they have a slipped disc. It is the slipped disc that is causing their neck pain or lower back pain.

Many patients with back pain or neck pain also ask what is a slipped disc? It hopefully should help you see if you really do have a problem with the disc in your neck or lower back.

Slipped disc  back pain   neck pain

Also if you want to know how bad a slipped disc can be or what type of slipped disc you actually have you can read on below.

The Slipped Disc

The first thing to let you know is that technically it actually isn’t a slipped disc. What we mean is that slipped disc is a laymans term for a prolapsed disc, herniated disc or bulging disc causing low back pain or neck pain.

A lot of the time because of a sudden neck pain or lower back pain people may think their disc moved out of place or “slipped”. In a way a spinal disc can move, but to what degree it has moved is important.

Slipped Disc in Back Classification

An MRI scan is the best way to take a picture of the disc between the vertebrae.

Here is a great MRI Scan of a slipped disc in neck.

Medically the best way to describe a ‘slipped discis to describe a problem with a neck or lower back inter-vertebral disc as a:

  1. Disc Bulge – Asymmetric or Symmetric
  2. Disc Herniation – Protrusion or Extrusion


Video of What a Slipped Disc Looks Like

So as you can see from above that the spinal disc degenerates first and then starts to bulge. Then with time degenerative disc disease will cause it to herniate.

Healthy discs don’t slip out of place. If you have a disc herniation then it has been coming for awhile. Sometimes with enough trauma will a healthy disc herniate, but this is not the norm.

I’m Confused – Disc Bulge, Disc Herniation, Protrusion …

Don’t worry about knowing the exact disc injury type terminology. At The North Wales Spine Clinic we concern ourselves more about the exact medical terminology of the slipped disc. You should care if it is more a disc bulge or a herniation problem.

What it does do though is help you as the patient with a disc injury pain, to know how severe the problem actually is in the scheme of things. Even a disc herniation can be classified as mild, moderate or severe.

If you would like to see the more in-depth process of working out what type of disc bulge or disc herniation you may have you can read the Dynamic Chiropractic article

A Synopsis of Nomenclature and Classification of Lumbar Disc Herniation

In the next articles to come we will look more at slipped disc symptoms and slipped disc treatment.

So we hope you have learnt from above that a slipped disc is either a disc bulge or disc herniation. Why we would use the term disc bulge or disc herniation. Finally you can at least see now that from a MRI scan you could see what type of disc injury you have and how we determine how to grade how severe it is.