Bulging Disc Causes — Excess Body Weight

Excess body weight is one of the most common bulging disc causes. That’s because the burden of carrying additional body weight increases the strain placed on the neck and back, which can have a profound impact on the discs that normally cushion and support the spine. As a result, individuals who are overweight and experiencing bulging discs or other similar conditions are often advised to shed excess pounds as part of their initial treatment regimen.

The anatomical makeup of the spine’s discs

In many ways, spinal discs act like the body’s natural shock absorbers. These thick spongy pads separate adjacent vertebral bodies but are also highly flexible, which gives the neck and back the necessary range of motion. The trouble with the discs, however, is that they have a tendency to deteriorate over the years — particularly in the neck and lower back where the segments of the spine support significant body weight and have a wide range of motion. When a person is overweight, the spine is responsible for supporting even more body weight than intended, which can overburden the discs and lead to potential problems.

Symptoms of a bulging disc caused by excess weight

Specifically, a bulging disc occurs when pressure on the disc causes it to swell beyond its normal boundaries between the vertebrae. The condition can be entirely asymptomatic, but when a bulging disc interferes with or irritates a neighboring nerve root, the following symptoms can occur depending on the location of the problem:

  • Chronic local pain
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • Pain that radiates along the length of the nerve
  • A feeling of pins-and-needles
  • A sensation of heat in the hands or feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue

Treatment options for a bulging disc

While excess body weight is one of the leading bulging disc causes, there are many other risk factors that can make a person susceptible to this condition, such as aging, sports and genetics. If you have developed a bulging disc from one of these factors, then consult your doctor to develop a treatment regimen that best fits your spine care needs.

Based on the severity of your specific condition, your doctor may first recommend conservative therapy consisting of weight management, pain medication, hot and cold therapy, low-impact exercise and physical therapy. However, if several weeks or months or conservative care fail to provide you with adequate relief from your bulging disc, then surgical intervention may become an option.

If this is the case for you, then contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the advantages of our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our procedures offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery with a shorter recovery period and lower risk of complication.^ We have had the privilege of helping more than 75,000 patients find lasting relief from spine conditions like bulging discs.

Our highly skilled surgeons use a small incision that is muscle sparing to remove part or all of the disc that is pressing on the nerve, thereby alleviating the symptoms associated with a bulging disc. To find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient surgery, reach out to our caring team today and ask for a free MRI review.*  

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