Genetic factors that can cause a bulging disc

Genetic Factors Can Influence the Development of a Bulging Disc

Although the development of a bulging disc is more typically associated with causes like aging or injury, your genetics also can play a role. And while scientists have yet to discover a direct link between specific genes and the occurrence of a bulging disc, there is evidence that risk factors for this condition can be inherited.

Looking into family history

Forms of spinal degeneration, including those causing the breakdown of spinal discs, can run in families. That means that if one of your parents or a sibling has spinal issues, you’re at an increased risk for them as well. Some people are born with narrower spinal canals, which is one of the causes of spinal stenosis. A small canal may not initially be a problem, but if you develop bulging discs later in life, it will be easier for them to compress spinal nerves. A bulging disc is not necessarily painful, with most of the symptoms typically being caused by spinal narrowing and nerve compression.

Other factors to consider

The single largest risk factor for having bulging discs may be your age. As the body gets older, the discs can become drier and less elastic, which makes them more prone to damage as the spine moves. While aging and genetics are factors out of everyone’s control, the good news is that there are other risk factors to a bulging disk of which you can control. These include:

  • Having a job that involves heavy lifting or repetitive motion
  • Playing high-impact sports, like football
  • Being overweight
  • Drinking alcohol excessively
  • Using tobacco products
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle

Treatment options

In many cases, symptoms caused by a bulging disc can be treated with conservative treatments like rest, medication, physical therapy and exercise. However, if weeks or months go by without the improvement in symptoms necessary to resume normal activity, surgery can become an option.

If you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc and you’re at the point where you are exploring your surgical options, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We perform minimally invasive spine surgery that offers a faster recovery time^ and less risk of complication when compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.

For a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to our dedicated team of Spine Care Consultants today.

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