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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

Bulging Disc - Part 2: What Causes Bulging Discs?

Posted by Illinois Back Institute on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 @ 04:33 PM

Bulging_Disc2This is Part 2 in a series about Bulging Discs. If you missed Part 1, click here!

In the first part of this series, we discussed what a Bulging Disc is. To recap: the discs in the spine are made up of a thick outer layer called the annulus, and a jelly-like substance on the inside called the nucleus. When the disc deteriorates for whatever reason, the annulus weakens and begins to bulge out, which is why it is called a Bulging Disc. In Part One we also discussed some basic facts about the spine, so that everyone can better understand the discs' job as cushions for the vertebrae in the spine.

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So, everyone now knows what a Bulging Disc is. The next question is, what causes them? Earlier we mentioned how Bulging Discs occur when the disc deteriorates for some reason. There are two main reasons for this, which we are going to discuss now.

  • The main cause of a Bulging Disc is when the jelly inside the disc begins drying out (or as we call it, becoming dehydrated).

In Part One we compared the discs in the spine to a jelly donut, with a thick outside (the annulus) and a jelly-like substance on the inside (the nucleus). However, to better understand how when the nucleus becomes dehydrated it can cause bulging discs, imagine the disc as a tire on a car. The outside of a tire is a lot like the outside of a disc; it is thick, provides protection, and keeps the air (or jelly) on the inside. That air is what provides stability to the tire, similar to how the nucleus keeps the disc stable.

When a tire is properly inflated, it provides cushioning to the car it is attached to. But what happens when the tire starts losing some of the air inside and going flat? It begins to bulge out and becomes less stable due to the weight and pressure put on it. This is very similar to what happens with a Bulging Disc. The nucleus provides stability to the disc, and in turn, the spine. But, that jelly can begin to dehydrate and dry out. When that happens, the disc can no longer support the weight and pressure like it used to and starts to bulge out.

  • The second most common cause of a Bulging Disc is due to the outside of the disc (the annulus) weakening.

The annulus is what protects the nucleus and holds it in. But sometimes, like when the annulus is under a lot more pressure than usual, small tears can begin to develop. These tears weaken some areas of the annulus, and when this happens the normal pressure on the disc will cause the nucleus to push toward the direction of that tear and weakness. This leads to the annulus bulging out.

Remember, this was just Part Two of our series. Part Three will discuss what the most common symptoms of Bulging Discs are. Look for it coming soon!

The key to our treatment is solving the underlying cause. If you have a Bulging Disc and are suffering, we can help you. Call today to schedule a Free Consultation at 855-536-8301, or click on this link to schedule online:

Click Here For a Free Bulging Disc Consultation

Or, if you would like to attend one of our Free Educational Seminars, held regularly at each of our clinics, click here:

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Also, for those suffering with Bulging Discs, our Free Series of Top 10 Tips for Back Pain Relief can help. To sign up for them, click here:

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Disclaimer: The content on this web site is for information purposes only and should never be used as the basis for diagnosis or treatment. We always recommend consulting a qualified professional before embarking on any form of self treatment or rehabilitation.

All content is protected by the usual copyright laws and cannot be used, stolen or reproduced for any purpose without Illinois Back Institute permission. Please feel free to call about anything although we are unable to give advice on any specific injuries or conditions over the phone.