Bulging disc

November 12, 2012

Bulging disc

There are few things more painful to deal with on a day-to-day basis than constant back pain

The human spine is constructed from a number of discs which are interlaced with the vertebrae. These discs act as shock absorbers, protecting the spine, during normal day to day activity.

Excessive strain, twisting or damage to the spine can result in a herniated, or bulging, disc. A bulging disc occurs when the outer surface of the disc is weakened as a result of disease, injury or the aging process. When this weakness, or even tearing, occurs then the surrounding vertebrae will begin to compress the disc and its associated nerves, resulting in pain which may be extremely severe and debilitating.

Causes of a bulging disc

A bulging disc may be the result of a number of factors – lack of exercise, excessive weight gain, sudden movement, twisting or strenuous activity, lifting of heavy weights incorrectly may all contribute to the development of this painful condition.

It is possible to minimise risk factors by employing the correct methods of lifting, maintaining good health and dealing properly with physical stress.

Regular exercise

Regular exercise is essential for all round good health and will help to strengthen the muscles of the back, stomach and legs thereby reducing the risk of developing a bulging disc. Exercise programs should include a variety of strength training exercises twice weekly in addition to moderate aerobic activity for at least three hours weekly.

Wear the right kit

During any exercise it is essential to wear the right equipment – this is especially true of shoes, the right shoes for the right exercise will provide additional support for the spine and will reduce the likelihood of other injuries occurring.

Follow a healthy, well balanced, diet

Maintaining a health and well balanced diet is an essential part of good health, the correct nutritional intake will help to strengthen not just the spine but the overall body. Including calcium rich foods will give added protection to bones.

Good posture

Maintaining good posture is an essential component of spinal health and will greatly reduce the risk of developing a bulging disc which may be the result of excessive stress and strain on the spine.

Always stand up straight with shoulders back and stomach tucked in. When seated use a lumbar support with feet flat on the floor or elevated.

Sleep properly

Using a firm mattress which is replaced every eight to ten years is another important component in preventing the development of a bulging disc. Attempts should be made to sleep on the side or in the foetal position as far as possible.

Lift properly

Always lift correctly, using the legs not the back – bend knees into a squat position and use the legs to lift yourself and the weight – bending at the waist whilst lifting is a frequent cause of herniated discs.

Stop smoking

Stopping smoking is one thing which all smokers should do which will have an immediate impact on overall health. Smoking causes a decrease in the supply of oxygen, inhibits the absorption of essential nutrients and contributes to discs becoming dry and brittle.


Long periods of time spent sitting should be interspersed, where possible, with stretches in order to prevent the spine stiffening which in turn may lead to an injury in the discs.

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