A bulging disc can cause painful symptoms and interrupt your everyday activities. Bulging disc symptoms include local pain, radiating pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness.

Can genetic factors cause a bulging disc?

The most common cause of a bulging disc is the natural aging process, followed by injury or trauma. Although these are the most common causes, there is evidence that risk factors for developing a bulging disc can be inherited. Spinal degeneration, including the breakdown of a spinal disc, is hereditary and can run in families. If one of your close relatives, parents or siblings, has spinal issues or conditions, your risk of developing a spinal issues is increased. This may also hold true of further removed, second and third level relatives as well.

What are other factors that can cause a bulging disc?

Although you don’t have control over the aging process or genetic risk factors that may predispose you to developing a bulging disc, there are several risk factors and lifestyle choices that you may be able to control to reduce your risks of developing a bulging disc, including:

  • Contact sports
  • High-impact activities
  • Being overweight
  • Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Being sedentary
  • Frequent heavy lifting
  • Repetitive motion or manual labor

If you proactively mitigate the risks that you can control, you may be less likely to develop a symptomatic bulging disc. For example, losing any excess weight can help to lessen the load that your spine has to support and improve your overall health. If you currently participate in high-impact activities or contact sports, making changes to low-impact activities, such as swimming, walking or the elliptical machine, can prevent spinal injury.

What are the treatment options for a bulging disc?

For most people, a combination of conservative treatment options controls symptoms and helps them return to their everyday lives. Surgery is only required in severe cases or if conservative treatment is unsuccessful after several months. If you are suffering from painful symptoms caused by a bulging disc it is important to work with your physician on finding the most effective treatment options for your condition. If left untreated a bulging disc can lead to permanent muscle and nerve damage.