What Causes a Bulged Disc and How Is It Repaired?


Quick Answer

Bulging disks in the back are most frequently caused by aging or direct physical trauma, such as falling, according to WebMD. Surgery is an option, but 90 percent of cases resolve with therapy and pain medicine, according to Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

A bulge in a disk takes place when the fibrous covering warps or breaks, pressing on a spinal nerve. Men and women between the ages of 30 and 50 are the most frequent sufferers of this condition, but after the age of 50 disks starts to lose their fluid center, making a bulge less likely. People who exercise frequently are considerably less at risk of disk problems, as are those who maintain normal weight, according to WebMD.

For most people, pain management and physical therapy combine to heal bulging disks. Five different types of pain medicine are commonly used: over-the-counter medicines, such as naproxen or ibuprofen; nerve pain medications, such as duloxetine or tramadol; muscle relaxants; cortisone shots; and prescription narcotics such as codeine. Physical therapy involves utilizing a regimen of exercises and stretches unique to the patient's needs, as well as traction, ice or heat, electrical stimulation, bracing or ultrasound, depending on the case, as stated by Mayo Clinic.

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