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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, Jan 06, 2014 @ 10:30 AM

multiple bulging discs causesBulging discs are sometimes confused with herniated discs, but these are actually two different problems that can cause frequent and sometimes severe back pain. When you have spinal discs that balloon out and cause pain and irritation, these are referred to as bulging discs. This condition is commonly seen in people as they age, although there are also other factors that can raise the risk of developing one or more bulging discs


The aging process is the most common cause of bulging discs. As you get older, the discs in your back become stiffer and can suffer damage more easily. The jelly-like substance inside these discs can push against the outer edge of the disc, causing it to bulge. By the time you’re 40, you could end up with at least one bulging disc. This condition is common in people who are in their 30s and 40s.

Your Job

If you do frequent lifting or driving at work or stand on your feet a lot when doing your job, you’re more likely to have bulging discs. Even if you don’t do a lot of heavy or repetitive lifting, picking things up the wrong way can put additional strain on your back and lead to the development of bulging discs.

Sports Participation

Playing certain kinds of sports is another factor that can increase your likelihood of having disc problems. Contact sports, such as football, put your back at risk, thanks to the amount of rough physical contact you’re exposed to while playing. 

Family History

Having a family history of spinal disc problems or disorders, including bulging discs, gives you a higher risk of also developing them. In this case, lowering your risk by lifting items safely and avoiding repetitive motions is important. 


If your back is subjected to serious trauma due to having a bad fall or being in a car accident, there is a higher likelihood that you could end up with disc problems. If the injuries you suffer affect your spinal discs, they could develop a bulge that causes pain along the nerves in that area.

Smoking and Drinking

Being a smoker and drinking heavily can also increase your chance of having multiple bulging discs. Smoking can have a damaging effect on the soft tissue in your back, while alcohol relaxes the muscles that normally support your spine. Both of these habits can lead to disc damage and increased back pain.

Regardless of what causes you to have multiple bulging discs, it’s important to get the right medical care for this condition. Bulging discs can rupture, leading to what’s known as herniated discs. There are several treatment options available, ranging from surgery to non-invasive procedures, such as Functional Disc Rehydration. Your doctor can go over your options with you and help you determine which treatment is best for you.

For more information on nonsurgical treatments for multiple bulging discs, please contact the Illinois Back Institute. Our offices throughout Illinois have been helping people find back pain relief for years.

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Topics: causes of bulging discs, Bulging Discs, cause of bulging disc