A bulging disc is a spine condition that occurs when a disc, the spongy material in between vertebrae that act as shock absorbers for the spine, pushes out of its place in the spinal column at a certain degree. As a result, the discs bulging into the spinal cord push on the nerves and compresses the nerve root, which can produce debilitating symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling and weakness. Read on to learn more about the causes and treatment options associated with a bulging disc diagnosis.
Bulging disc causes
Bulging discs can be caused by a number of factors, each of which causes discs to weaken, making them more prone to damage. The most common causes of a bulging disc are:
- Aging. The most common cause of bulging discs is degeneration. The spine’s discs and other components naturally weaken over time due to years of enduring repeated stress and motion.
- Excess body weight. Being overweight may place undue stress on the spinal components, causing them to deteriorate at a faster rate and making the individual prone to conditions like a bulging disc.
- Participation in sports. High-impact sports, such as hockey, football or rugby, can cause the spine to weaken due to repetitive motion or injury. Furthermore, sports that require exaggerated bending and twisting motions, such as golf, may also cause the spine’s discs to weaken prematurely.
- Severe trauma. Traumatic injuries, such as a car accident, can cause damage to discs and other parts of the spine.
- Genetics. For reasons that are not yet fully understood, those with a family history of degenerative spine conditions, such as a bulging disc, are more prone to developing the condition themselves.
Bulging disc treatment options
When a patient first seeks treatment for a bulging disc, his or her doctor will likely recommend a course of conservative treatment to manage their pain and other symptoms. Conservative bulging disc treatment commonly includes methods such as pain and anti-inflammatory medication, chiropractic visits, physical therapy, acupuncture and epidural steroids. While most patients find sufficient relief from conservative treatment, others may need bulging disc surgery to relieve their symptoms and improve their quality of life if symptoms persist after a period of time, such as six to 12 weeks.
If you find yourself in this position, contact the dedicated team at USA Spine Care. Our neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons perform minimally invasive spine surgery as a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery. The procedures at USA Spine Care use a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques in order to alleviate symptoms while resulting in less surgical blood loss and a reduced risk of infection.
Since 2005, we have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. Reach out to us today for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our procedures. We are here to help guide you through your journey to wellness.