A bulging disc is a common malady, occurring when weakened discs of cartilage between the vertebrae of the spine bulge outward and into the spinal canal. While a bulging disc may impinge a nerve root and cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the back, neck and other areas of the body, many cases are not painful. It is important, however, to know and be aware of what causes bulging discs.
Bulging Disc Causes
- Age – The discs of cartilage in your spine are like spongy shock absorbers that allow your body to be flexible. As you grow older, these discs start to lose water and elasticity, thus becoming weaker and more brittle. The effects of gravity eventually compress the weakened cartilage, resulting in the outer layer of the disc bulging into the spinal cavity. Bulging discs are most commonly found in middle-aged people.
- Genetics – If you have a family member with a history of spinal problems, you may have a higher chance of developing a bulging disc.
- Injury – A car accident, a weight lifting session gone awry, a slip and fall on wet pavement, or simply moving your body in the wrong way can put undue stress on your back and neck.
- Lifestyle choices – Smoking cigarettes emits toxins into the body that contribute to the breakdown of disc cartilage. A lack of exercise, poor diet and weight gain are other factors.
- Posture and muscle imbalances – Sitting or standing with poor posture – with your head forward, shoulders rounded, or slouching in your chair – can create muscle imbalances and elevate your risk of developing a bulging disc.
What to Do Next
Are you suffering from bulging disc pain? Have conservative treatments such as physical therapy and medication provided no relief? Laser Spine Institute’s orthopedic experts offer a variety of minimally invasive outpatient procedures that are a safe and effective alternative to open back surgery. Contact us today and let us help you rediscover your life without back and neck pain.