You’ve always heard that keeping good posture is important, but did you know that it may actually help prevent you from developing a bulging disc and other spine conditions?

Developing a bulging disc from posture is certainly not the most common way this condition occurs, but it does increase the risk of wearing down the discs in the spine, making them more susceptible to bulging and herniation. Understanding how posture influences spine health may help you take small steps to maintain a strong spine or reduce your risk of developing a spine condition like a bulging disc.

Can you develop a bulging disc from posture problems?

Maintaining good posture throughout the day can help reduce your risk of developing a bulging disc from posture-related problems and conditions. To understand how posture affects your spine wellness, you must first understand the role and function of the spine, and the benefits of good posture to overall spine health.

The spine is comprised of several small bones called vertebrae, which provides the structure and stability of the body. Each vertebra is separated by a disc, which looks like an oval pad and acts as a shock absorber for the spine. The discs help prevent the vertebrae from colliding during a fall or even daily bending and twisting. Because the discs are meant to be cushions to the spine, they are lined with a tough, elastic outer layer that allows them to undergo pressure without breaking — making them flexible and durable.

Good posture keeps the vertebrae and discs of the spine in alignment, preventing extra pressure from being placed on the discs and preserving the elasticity in the disc’s outer layer. However, bad posture can weaken the discs and possibly lead to a bulging or herniated disc after years of sitting or standing incorrectly.

For example, sitting hunched over at a desk for hours causes pressure from the vertebrae to be placed on one side of your discs. Over time, this may weaken the disc’s elasticity in that area. As the elasticity in the disc’s outer layer weakens, the disc may bulge with bending or movement, causing you severe pain and symptoms. If this happens, you should contact your doctor to determine if you’ve developed a bulging disc from posture.

Next steps for treatment

A bulging disc from posture can be treated in a number of ways, both conservatively and surgically. Many doctors will begin with a series of conservative treatments, which can likely include physical therapy and other options.

Physical therapy focuses on strengthening the core muscles around the spine to help hold the spine in place and reduce pressure on the discs and vertebrae. These same muscles are exercised and strengthened when correct posture is practiced, which reduces the risk of developing another bulging disc.

If conservative therapies do not offer pain relief, your doctor may recommend spine surgery. Before you choose the type of surgery you will undergo, ask your doctor about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery compared to traditional open neck or back surgery. The complication rate for minimally invasive spine surgery is much lower than traditional open spine surgery, giving you a better alternative to find relief.