What is a Bulging Disc?
A bulging disc injury is a common spine injury sustained to your spine's intervertebral disc. It can occur in your lumbar spine (lower back), thoracic spine (upper and mid-back) or your cervical spine (neck).
A bulging disc can commonly be referred to as a slipped disc or a protruding disc. However, when the disc bulge is significant enough for the disc nucleus to come out of the annulus (outer layer of the disc), it is known as a herniated disc.
What Causes a Bulging Disc?
When a bulging disc, disc herniation or disc rupture occurs, it is typically due to either:
- A pre-existing weakness in the outer layer of the disc (annulus), or
- A sudden increase in pressure through the disc causing fibres of the annulus to tear.
- Accumulated Microtrauma - Repeated microtrauma over an extended period can lead to disc injury. The best example of accumulated microtrauma is poor posture.
- Unexpected load or torsion of a disc can result in tearing of the annulus fibres and hence a disc injury. An example would include a poor lifting technique.
- Genetic factors may increase the risk of a disc injury