It is so funny that you asked that question about tears. I finally asked my doctor on friday, what the difference was, because I was very confused myself.
I asked my doctor to explain it to me like I was a ten year old, because I was not getting it the way he was explaining it to me, and that is how I like it explained. I told him to make it short and sweet.
So here is my short version of what the difference is, and how the doc explained it to me, or better yet, how I understood it.
Okay......Here we go:
If the tear is leaking and the gel goes outside of the annular wall of the disc, then it is a herniated disc. If there is a tear, and the gel is still contained inside the annular wall (not leaking), then it is considered a herniated disc, disc buldge or a contained herniated disc.
So with a tear that is leaking, it can be called several things, such as: a disc tear, herniated disc or a ruptured disc, depending on the circumstances.
A tear that is not leaking, can be called a herniated disc, contained herniated disc or a disc bulge.
However, you can have a tear, and it not be herniated, but just a tear. That is when it isn't leaking, or buldging in anyway. Most likely you will not have any leg pain, just the back pain.
The reasons why we can experience leg pain:
If the herniated disc is leaking outside of the annular wall, the gel (thats what I like to call it), can leak out of the tear, and on to the nerves causing inflammation and irritation, and that is why it is so painful.
If the herniation is contained inside annular wall, it can buldge out far enough, to compress on the nerve, causing pain in the legs.
Doctors like to confuse us, because they will call a disc tear different things, depending on the situation explained above. It has taking me a long time to understand, and I still don't know if I am 100% correct on this.
Successstory, explained it just like a professional, but of course stupid me, needs things explained to me like a child. I have been having a really hard time concentrating anymore, so I need things short and sweet.
Someone on here explained it to me before, and I was to embarresed to tell them I didn't get it, and I didn't want them to have to explain it to me again, in fear that they would get mad, so I just let it go, until friday.
One more thing to add to the confusing, you can also have a herniation, that only herniates when you sit or stand, and that is why many times a MRI won't pick it up, because the test requires you to lay down. That is why when you lay down, it someimes releives the pain, because the pressure is taking off your disc.
Okay, that is enough of my silly little lessons that took me over a year to find out. Boy, my mother would be so proud [img]http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif[/img]
Karen, I hope this helps you, and anyone please correct me if I am wrong.