Bulging disc causes — aging

One of the leading bulging disc causes is something that none of us can avoid: the natural aging process. As we grow older, the parts that support the spine naturally begin to deteriorate as a result of years of wear and tear. This process is entirely normal and explains the loss of flexibility and some of the aches and pains that most of us accept as part of getting older. However, for some people, this breakdown can lead to potentially debilitating symptoms as a result of bulging or herniated discs, among other degenerative spine conditions.

How age-related changes can cause a bulging disc

In the neck and back, adjacent vertebral bodies are cushioned by spinal discs that function as shock absorbers for the spinal column. These discs have two primary components:

  • A tough outer fibrous shell
  • A gel-like inner disc material

A bulging disc occurs when the outer layer begins to bulge out from between the vertebrae. This can occur as a result of additional pressure placed on a spinal segment, injury, spinal misalignment and other similar conditions. However, the largest underlying cause of this condition is the body’s natural aging process. This is because over time the discs naturally lose water and protein content, making them less elastic and able to withstand the pressures from everyday activities, potentially resulting in a bulging disc or other condition.

Bulging discs are usually not symptomatic themselves, but can become painful if disc material causes compression or irritation of a nearby nerve root or the spinal cord. Specific symptoms can include localized pain, as well as tingling, numbness, muscle weakness and cramping that can become seriously debilitating and affect your quality of life.

Treatment options

The symptoms of bulging discs can very often be managed conservatively with a course of nonsurgical techniques such as physical therapy, medication and lifestyle changes. However, if weeks or months go by and conservative treatments have not brought relief, surgery might be considered. At Laser Spine Institute, we provide a range of minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that helps our patients find relief from the symptoms of bulging discs and other conditions. Contact us today for more information and to learn about treatment options.

A member of our caring and dedicated team can help you receive a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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