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 intervertebral 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 pounds as part of their initial treatment regimen.

The anatomical makeup of the intervertebral discs

In many ways, intervertebral 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.

Specifically, a bulging disc occurs when pressure on the disc causes it to swell beyond its normal parameters 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 or the sensation of heat in the hands or feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • And more

Get additional information

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 intervertebral disc issues. To learn more, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

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