Of the leading bulging disc causes, probably the biggest is something that cannot be avoided: the natural aging process. As we grow older, the spinal anatomy gradually begins to deteriorate as a result of regular use, combined with becoming more brittle from loss of water content. The vertebral joints that connect adjacent vertebrae can become arthritic, the ligaments that support the spinal column can slowly calcify, bone spurs can form within the spinal canal and the discs that are responsible for cushioning the spine can weaken, causing them to bulge out of their normal position.
This deterioration is largely unavoidable and explains the loss in mobility that we all experience as we get older. However, there are also other activities and risk factors that can accelerate the degenerative forces that can lead to a bulging disc which can be avoided to improve overall spine health.
Risk factors that can cause a bulging disc
In addition to the wear and tear that comes with getting older, any activity that puts additional strain on the spinal column can lead to neck and back pain from a degenerative condition. Some additional bulging disc causes include:
- Poor posture — an improperly aligned spine puts additional strain on the discs
- Improper stretching — not stretching before strenuous activities leads to muscle strains, sprains, and damage to the back and neck
- Tobacco use — the ingredients in cigarettes can cause discs to weaken and dehydrate
- Repetitive bending, twisting or lifting — these activities increase strain on the spine, accelerating the degenerative process
- Obesity — the burden of supporting excess body weight can speed up disc degeneration
Treatment for a bulging disc
If an individual is diagnosed with a bulging disc, doctors will typically first attempt to manage the symptoms with a variety of conservative treatments. Effective options vary from patient to patient depending on the specific cause of the condition, the origin of the symptoms, the patient’s overall health, age and other reasons. The use of medication, a heating pad, ice packs, stretching techniques and low-impact exercises are commonly recommended.
In the event that several weeks of conservative treatment have failed to relieve your symptoms and surgery becomes an option, contact USA Spine Care. Our team of board-certified surgeons perform minimally invasive spine surgery using a less than 1-inch incision and other muscle-sparing techniques to allow for a streamlined outpatient experience and many other benefits.
Call today for more information and to request a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.