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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

What Causes Multiple Bulging Discs?

Posted by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer D.C. on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

Herniated DiscsMany things cause back pain, but there could be a chance that you are suffering from a more serious condition - bulging discs. Stressed discs can lose their natural ability to retain elastic recoil. Even small traumatic events put excess pressure on each disc’s central core which can stretch and deform the fibrous outer ring, preventing it from returning to its original shape. 

What Are Bulging Discs?

When discs actually bulge, it is from a ballooning effect born of these deformities. Furthermore, bulging discs can rupture, causing the contents inside (nucleus pulposus) to seep out and the disc to become herniated. People as young as in their twenties can experience these issues, though they get far more common with age.

Causes of Multiple Bulging Discs

The reason that age is the most common cause of bulging discs is because as you get older, the discs in between each vertebrae lose water content, causing them to become flatter, stiffer, less shock absorbent, and more damage prone. Someone in their fifties or sixties will be far more liable to wind up with multiple bulged discs from the same traumatic event that might cause a person in their twenties to only misalign one or experience no disc trauma at all. However, despite age itself being the most likely culprit for causing your discs to bulge, other events cause the same effect including:

  • Any severe traumatic event such as a high fall or vehicle accident

  • Participating in extreme or contact sports

  • Lifting anything heavy with your back instead of your legs

  • Careers that require repetitive strenuous motions such as bending, lifting, or standing

  • A history of disc disease in the family

  • Excessive abuse of tobacco, alcohol, or various illegal drugs

While any of these incidents can cause multiple bulging discs, some are more prone to this outcome than others. For instance, if you are employed on a loading dock and have to constantly unload trucks, then you will be repetitively bending and lifting, which in turn will cause your discs to degrade faster. However, this also means there is a good probability that you can enact positive changes before discs become bulged or otherwise damaged. On the other hand, if you were in a severe automobile accident where you were thrown through the windshield of your car, it makes no difference what sort of shape you might have been in beforehand because there is a high likelihood that several discs will be damaged anyway.

Symptoms and Solutions

While bulging discs can certainly occur anywhere on the spine, the most common cases are usually in the lumbar region (lower back), followed by the cervical region (neck), and less often, the thoracic spine (mid back). Things can start off asymptomatic until the spinal cord or one of its many nerve rootlets is compressed. Then, aching and burning pains can be experienced in the afflicted region as well as shooting pains (assciatica) that travel through the sciatic nerve and can go all the way into the feet.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have been through any of the traumas described above, you should consider functional disc rehydration therapy. This therapy is designed to alleviate pressure on the discs to send more oxygen and vital nutrients into their nuclei. Afterward, your spine can be further stabilized by reintegrating and reactivating specific muscle groups.

Where To Find Help

What treatments have you tried to relieve back pain in the past? The Illinois Back Institute has great experience with treating stenosis, sciatica, herniated, and bulging discs. To gather up more information, request a free back consultation.

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Topics: bulging disc, Common Causes of Back Pain, Bulging Discs, lumbar, cervical, back pain causes, pain treatment