Your spine was created with an army of support, allowing your spine to be equally flexible and strong. This army, otherwise known as a collection of discs, lives between the vertebrae that make up your spine. The discs are made up of complex fibrous material. As we age, these discs weaken and make our spine more susceptible to breakage or dislocation.
A bulging disc occurs when a spinal disc projects out of its normal space into the spinal canal. In this case, the weakness in the fibrous material that encompasses the soft central portion has progressed to a point where the position of the disc shifts. In addition to natural wear and tear, other factors that can contribute to a bulging disc include repetitive movements, strenuous lifting, twisting of the body, bone spurs pushing against the disc, and many other degenerative conditions.
A bulging disc can happen at any spinal segment. If it happens in the lower part of the spine, the damaged disc may cause pain that travels to the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet. If it occurs in a higher part of the spine, it can cause pain, numbness, decreased strength and sensation, and tingling in the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. Symptoms can vary based on a patient’s unique case.
Although bulging discs are not 100% preventable, there are few lifestyle changes you can enact to try and prevent a bulging disc from developing or worsening over time.
Incorporate appropriate exercises: Without physical activity, your spine can lose its durability. Immobility can cause your discs to dehydrate, weaken, and bulge. If exercising is not already a part of your lifestyle, try incorporating light walks into your day. For more intermediate physical activity, try strength exercises that use weights to balance your spine. Additionally, yoga and Pilates practices are known to enhance overall mobility.
Rest your body: Our body needs a sufficient amount of sleep to function properly. A solid eight hours of sleep is recommended to maintain healthy hormone levels and give your body enough time to heal after a long day of physical activity.
Try anti-inflammatory foods: Avoid foods that contain excess sugar, refined carbohydrates, and trans-fats. These contain inflammatory properties that can weaken spinal vertebrae and discs. According to Harvard Health, you should try adopting an anti-inflammatory diet that includes, “tomatoes, olive oil, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and fatty fish.”
There is no way to totally guarantee a bulging disc will not affect you. In the event of a serious spine injury, professional treatment is essential to a full recovery. To treat a bulging disc, talk to one of our spine specialists at Spine Solutions. We specialize in laser spine surgery, minimally invasive spinal surgery, disc replacement, and herniated disc repair to restore your spine. To make an appointment, contact our Spine Solutions team today.