How Do Bulging Discs Happen? Well, a bulging disc is when the disc deteriorates for whatever reason, and the outside of the disc (called the annulus) weakens and begins to bulge out. But the question is, what causes them?
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There are two main reasons for Bulging Discs to occur:
- The main cause of a Bulging Disc is when the jelly inside the disc begins drying out (or as we call it, becoming dehydrated).
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.
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