Bulging Disc Causes

A common cause of back pain, a bulging disc can be caused by several conditions. Some of these are preventable, while some may be unavoidable as we get older.


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Age-Related Causes

Age-related change in the spine is a common and unavoidable source of a bulging spinal disc and its close cousin, a herniated disc. Part of this change occurs inside of the disc. Over time, natural chemical alterations lead to a loss of disc moisture and a weakening of the tough outer lining that keeps a disc’s cushioning core in place between its neighboring spinal bones. In turn, this weakening increases the odds that a bulge will develop and subsequently push against your spinal cord or nerves.

Age-related change in the ligaments that support the spinal column also inevitably increase risks for the onset of a bulging disc. This change produces its damaging effects by weakening the spine’s structural integrity.

Posture Problems

Another potential cause of a bulging disc is the maintenance of poor back posture while lifting heavy items or even items that wouldn’t normally strain your physical capabilities. If your back isn’t properly protected during lifting motions, an undue amount of strain can directly weaken a spinal disc or add to existing problems related to aging or other causes. Examples of poor lifting posture include lifting mostly with your back muscles instead of your leg muscles, keeping your knees straight instead of bending them and bending your spine instead of keeping it in an erect position. Even if you maintain proper lifting posture, you can damage your spinal discs if you attempt to lift more weight than you can safely bear.

Occupational Hazards

Some people have jobs that require regular participation in heavy labor or the repeated performance of back-intensive body movements. Examples of these movements include bending over, twisting from side to side, pushing against objects or items, and pulling objects or items. Over time, accumulated exposure to such job demands can lead to unusual back changes and directly or indirectly increase the odds that a bulge will form in a spinal disc.

Traumatic Injury

Traumatic back injury is another potential bulging disc cause. Such an injury may occur if you receive a blow while participating in a contact sport, participate in a sport or exercise that repeatedly exposes the spinal column to stress or perform a sports- or exercise-related motion incorrectly. Traumatic back injuries may also occur during motor vehicle accidents or any other type of accident (e.g., slips or falls) that exposes the back to blunt force.

Genetic Inheritance

For genetic reasons, some people are born with unusually weak spinal discs. This means that, as they get older, these individuals have a pre-existing tendency toward disc problems and the development of abnormal disc bulging. A person with inherited risks for bulging or high risk of herniated discs may have unusually high chances of experiencing damaging change in multiple spinal discs.

How is Bulging Disc Treated?

Bulging Disc treatment depends on you – your specific physiology and how advanced your case is. The North American Spine medical team and your physician will thoroughly evaluate your situation and recommend a treatment plan to provide both maximum relief and minimum recovery time. Treatment plants are grouped into three categories:


Fusion or Stabilization