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 anatomical elements 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 individuals, this deterioration can lead to potentially debilitating symptoms as a result of bulging or herniated discs, among other degenerative spine conditions.

What is a bulging disc exactly?

In the neck and back, adjacent vertebral bodies are cushioned by intervertebral discs that act like shock pads for the spinal column. These discs have two primary components:

  • A thick, tough outer fibrous shell called the annulus fibrosus
  • A gel-like inner disc material known as the nucleus pulposus

A bulging disc refers to an instance where the annulus fibrosus extends beyond its normal parameters between vertebral bodies. This can occur as a result of additional pressure placed on a spinal segment, injury, spinal misalignment and other similar conditions. This condition also frequently accompanies the aging process because the disc walls tend to thin and become weaker over the years as the discs age and wear and tear take a toll. It is important to note that a bulging disc is usually not symptomatic in and of itself, but can become painful when the affected disc irritates a nearby nerve root or the spinal cord. Furthermore, bulging discs can develop as a result of other degenerative conditions in the spine, such as osteoarthritis.

Treatment options

The symptoms of bulging discs can normally be managed conservatively with a regimen of non-surgical techniques. However, if the spinal deterioration is advanced or the symptoms simply do not respond to this treatment approach, surgery might be considered. At Laser Spine Institute, we proudly offer several minimally invasive, outpatient options that help our patients find relief from the symptoms of bulging discs. Contact us today to determine if you might be a candidate for our procedures and to request a review of your recent MRI or CT scan.

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