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Bulging disc causes and risk factors

Bulging disc causes primarily include age-related changes that lead to the breakdown of spinal anatomy. The spinal discs, which cushion the vertebrae and absorb the shock of everyday movement, are prone to losing water content and becoming more brittle as we reach middle age. Discs that have begun to deteriorate can bulge out from their normal place between the vertebrae. This condition is relatively common and doesn’t always cause symptoms, but can become painful and have a disruptive effect on your life if displaced disc material puts pressure on a spinal nerve.

Learning more about the causes and risk factors for the development of this condition can help in both the prevention and treatment for this condition. By becoming more involved with your spine health, you can give yourself the best chance of leading the healthy and active lifestyle you deserve.

Risk factors for bulging discs

While the natural aging process is something none of us can avoid, there are certain things we can do to prevent or delay the development of bulging discs or other degenerative spine conditions. To lessen the chances of developing this condition, most doctors recommend patients take the following steps:

  • Eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet
  • Practice good posture
  • Get regular exercise, both to strengthen supporting muscles and improve cardiovascular health
  • Manage weight to avoid being overweight or obese
  • Avoid tobacco use and excessive alcohol use
  • Limit participation in high-impact sports like football, hockey or gymnastics
  • Practice safe lifting techniques


If you do develop a bulging disc despite your best efforts to avoid the above risk factors, a number of treatment options are available. Doctors will often first recommend continuing to make healthy lifestyle decisions, including losing weight or quitting smoking, if necessary. In addition, conservative treatments like pain medication, physical therapy, heating pads and ice packs will often be suggested. By following this mode of treatment, many patients are able to find lasting relief from a bulging disc without the need for surgery.

If you’ve been unable to find relief despite exhausting other options, you may want to consider the minimally invasive spine surgery performed at USA Spine Care before consenting to a traditional open spine procedure performed in a hospital. Since 2005 we have helped more than 60,000 patients find relief with our streamlined outpatient experience. To find out if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to one of our dedicated and caring Spine Care Consultants today and ask about our no-cost MRI review.

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