What Causes Bulging Discs?

What Causes Bulging Discs? | Integrated Pain Consultants, Scottsdale

What Causes Bulging Discs?

You probably know at least one other person with a bulging disc. It’s a common issue that the experts at Integrated Pain Consultants regularly treat. Bulging discs happen when the cartilaginous discs between the spinal vertebrae bulge out and into the spinal canal. Bulging discs may be accompanied by an impinged nerve root and cause tingling, weakness, numbness, and/or pain in the back or neck. The pain in the impacted area can lead to pain throughout other parts of the body, too. We also invite you to learn more about Dr. Nikesh Seth and other providers including Dr. Anne-Marie CosijnsDr. Lisa SparksDr. Michael Givens, and our team of Nurse Practitioners.

What Causes a Disc To Bulge?

Bulging discs may be caused by a variety of factors, including simply age. The cartilage discs in our backs are similar to shock absorbers. They help the spine to be flexible, but just like shock absorbers on a car they can wear down and become less elastic with age. Weakened cartilage is at a higher risk of causing bulging discs. Most people with bulging discs are middle-aged.

Genetics can also play a role. If someone in your immediate blood family has spine problems, you’re at a higher risk. Lifestyle choices can also lead to a higher chance of bulging disc. For instance, cigarette smokers are at a higher risk because the toxins released into the body can speed up cartilage breakdown. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and carrying around extra weight are also linked to bulging discs.

Poor posture and muscle imbalances are linked to bulging discs, too. The common slouched position with the head forward and rounded shoulders increases your risk of bulging discs. Finally, injuries also play a role. Bulging discs don’t always happen over time. Car accidents, slip and fall injuries, or a weightlifting accident can cause a sudden traumatic bulging disc injury.

Treatment For Bulging Discs

Bulging discs are common, but there are many ways to treat this ailment and conservative approaches should always be considered first. If you’re suffering from back pain, the first step is to pinpoint the issue and cause. Bulging discs can take a long time to heal, and you’re at a higher risk of reoccurrence than someone who’s never had a bulging disc. This means aggressive medication-based treatments should be saved until conservative approaches are exhausted. You may benefit from an alternative treatment such as amniotic stem cell treatment or spinal cord stimulation. Another option may be epidural steroid injections. All of these conservative treatments are safe and often effective pain management tools. Find out more about bulging disc treatment options by calling Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552.