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.
What are the 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:
1. Aging. The most common cause of bulging discs is degeneration. The spinal discs and other components naturally weaken over time due to years of repeated stress and motion.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Severe trauma. Traumatic injuries, such as car accidents, can cause damage to discs and other parts of the spine.
5. 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 conditions 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 surgery to relieve their symptoms and improve their quality of life if symptoms persist after a period of time, such as six to twelve weeks.
If you find yourself in this position, contact the dedicated team at BEST Health System. Our board-certified, orthopaedic surgeons, Dr. Girton and Dr. Abbott perform minimally invasive spine surgery as a safer and more effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery. The procedures at BEST Health System use a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques in order to alleviate symptoms while resulting in less surgical blood loss and reduced risk of infection.
We are here to guide you through your journey to wellness. Contact us today!