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What causes a bulging disc?

A bulging disc is a common malady, occurring when weakened discs of cartilage between the vertebrae of the spine bulge outward and into the spinal canal. While a bulging disc may impinge a nerve root and cause pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the neck, back and other areas of the body, many cases are not painful. It is important, however, to know and be aware of what causes bulging discs.

Bulging disc causes

  • Age – The discs of cartilage in your spine are like spongy shock absorbers that allow your body to be flexible. As you grow older, these discs start to lose water and elasticity, thus becoming weaker and more brittle. The effects of gravity eventually compress the weakened cartilage, resulting in the outer layer of the disc bulging into the spinal cavity. Bulging discs are most commonly found in middle-aged people.
  • Genetics – If you have a family member with a history of spinal problems, you may have a higher chance of developing a bulging disc.
  • Injury – A car accident, a weight lifting session gone awry, a slip and fall on wet pavement, or simply moving your body in the wrong way can put undue stress on your neck and back.
  • Lifestyle choices – Smoking cigarettes emits toxins into the body that contribute to the breakdown of disc cartilage. A lack of exercise, poor diet and weight gain are other factors.
  • Posture and muscle imbalances – Sitting or standing with poor posture – with your head forward, shoulders rounded, or slouching in your chair – can create muscle imbalances and elevate your risk of developing a bulging disc.

What to do next

Are you experiencing bulging disc pain? Have conservative treatments such as physical therapy and medication provided no relief? We offer a variety of minimally invasive outpatient procedures that are an effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. Contact us today and let us help you find relief from neck and back pain.

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