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Symptoms and Causes of a Bulging Disc

Symptoms and Causes of a Bulging Disc

Symptoms and causes of a bulging disc can vary depending on the location and gravity of the condition. Bulging discs are a result of the weakening of the tough exterior of the disc which results to pressure from the inner core that causes the outer layer to bulge out of its original position and into the spinal canal. Normally, plenty of people suffer from this condition without feeling any kind of symptom. However, in some cases the bulging disc can cause a pinched nerve that then results to painful symptoms.

The common symptoms are the following:

  • Localized pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Tingling sensations
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of Motor skills

Bulging discs usually appear at the end and side sections of the bulging discs, which can possibly affect a nearby nerve. If the affected area is in the lumbar (lower) spine section then symptoms commonly appear in the lower back, buttocks and legs and feet. If it exerts pressure on one or more of the sciatic nerves then the symptoms are more commonly known as sciatica. Rarely, one of the symptoms include loss of bladder or bowel control. If the cervical (upper) spine section is affected then it usually appears in the neck, arms, hands and fingers. Lastly, if the affected area is in the thoracic (middle) spine section then the symptoms are usually in the upper back, stomach and chest. It is often mistaken for cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems. However, it is less common to develop a bulging disc in the thoracic region because of its stability being attached to the rib cage.

Causes of a Bulging Disc

A bulging disc is a common disease typically found in middle-aged people. It occurs when pressure from the inner core of the disc causes the outer wall to protrude into the spinal column which can cause pinched nerves which result to numbness, weakness, and tingling sensations in the arms and hands down to the fingers and down to the lower extremities. The following are the possible causes of a bulging disc.

  1. Aging

The natural process of aging is one of the most common causes of a bulging disc. Overtime, the discs degenerate – decreasing in water content rendering it brittle and less-flexible. The pressure on the weakened discs eventually result to it bulging out from its normal position and into the spinal canal.

  1. Spinal Trauma

An injury usually doesn’t come as a sudden change but rather, it progresses overtime and leads to a bulging disc condition. The injury can be a result of various accidents such as high-impact sports, car accidents, etc. Blunt force on the spine can result to damages in the outer wall of the disc when unexpected torsion happens.

  1. Genetics

It’s possible that a family has a history of spine diseases and conditions which will increase the likelihood of the development of a bulging disc since most of them have lesser density and increased elastin in the concentric collagen fibres of the outer wall of the disc.

  1. Smoking

Smoking releases toxins in the body which affect the discs in the spine. It impedes the nutrient cycle to keep the discs healthy. Thus, increasing the rate of deterioration of the discs.

  1. Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition can lead to weight gain that overall contribute to the deterioration of the disc specifically the weakening of the outer wall of the disc.

  1. Bad Posture

Sitting, standing or sleeping improperly increases the strain on the spine, specifically on the outer wall of the disc that can lead to a bulging disc. It creates muscle imbalances that increase the development of a bulging disc.

  1. Occupational Hazards

Some jobs require constant lifting, bending, etc. which increases ones risk in developing a bulging disc.

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