Bulging disc risk factors

The most common and unavoidable bulging disc risk factor is disc deterioration brought on by the normal aging process of the spine. This risk factor of degeneration can be found most commonly in the two mobile regions of the spine — cervical (upper) and lumbar spine (lower).

While age is unavoidable, there are several other bulging disc risk factors that can lead to symptoms of pain and limited mobility within the spine. Understanding these risk factors can help you possibly improve your overall spine health and may help postpone the development of a bulging disc.


Common risk factors for a bulging disc

A bulging disc will most commonly develop in the lumbar spine because this portion of the spine is responsible for the body’s weight and movement. There is constant pressure on the discs between the vertebrae, which leaves the discs susceptible to deterioration and damage.

Similarly, the cervical spine is responsible for supporting the weight and movement of the head. When you consider how many times a day we move our heads, it is easy to understand why these discs can wear down under the constant rotation of the cervical vertebrae.

Some of the bulging disc risk factors that can expedite the development of this condition include:

  • Age
  • Arthritis of the spine (osteoarthritis)
  • Improper lifting techniques
  • Excessive back and neck strain (for example, working at a job that requires a lot of standing, bending, heavy lifting, etc.)
  • Height (taller individuals may be more prone to bulging discs)
  • Excessive weight gain
  • An unhealthy diet
  • Poor posture
  • Inactivity, which leads to weakened core muscles
  • Smoking
  • Dehydration

Consider these risk factors as you make your daily lifestyle choices. Making small changes like eating healthy and exercising regularly can have a lasting impact on your overall spine health.

Treating the symptoms of bulging discs

Sometimes bulging disc risk factors cannot be avoided, and a bulging disc may develop. If this happens, schedule an appointment with your doctor to begin a course of conservative treatments for pain relief.
Conservative bulging disc treatments include:

  • Pain medication
  • Weight loss
  • Physical therapy
  • Low-impact exercise
  • Stretching and yoga
  • Corticosteroid injections

Many patients will find pain relief from these therapies after several months of consistent treatment. However, if chronic pain continues after several months of conservative treatment, surgery may become an option.

If you have been recommended for spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our spine surgeons perform minimally invasive procedures on an outpatient basis with far less disruption and a much shorter period of recovery^ than traditional open spine surgery.

Contact Laser Spine Institute to receive a no-cost MRI review* to find out if you’re a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.

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