Last Updated: 12/21/2023

A bulging disc is a common work-related injury. It occurs when one of the discs in your vertebrae pops out after a weak spot develops. Although it often causes pain and disability, many people are unaware they even have one. The symptoms typically are unnoticeable until the bulging disc presses on the surrounding tissues and nerves. Here are some things you should know about bulging discs and how you can prevent them at work, thereby reducing your chances of having to take time off work and receive Workers' Compensation benefits. 


Although most cases (90%) of bulging discs occur in the spine, they can occur in the neck as well. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, muscle spasms and weakening of the arms and legs. You may also experience discomfort when you cough or sneeze. In severe cases, you may develop sciatica, which is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. You may also notice loss of bowel or bladder control. 


A bulging disc is generally caused by lifting and bending improperly. Therefore, those who consistently lift heavy objects, such as movers, construction workers and freight workers, are at a higher risk of developing this work-related injury. Regular exercise, proper nutrition and using proper lifting techniques can help prevent bulging discs from occurring. 

Aging is another common cause of bulging discs. As we get older, the discs between our vertebrae lose water and become flat and stiff. They lose their cushioning and are prone to ballooning or bulging. Other factors that can contribute to a bulging disc include smoking, sports and family history. 


If you experience pain and pressure in your back or spine, you should see a doctor as soon as you can for an evaluation. Your doctor will review your medical history and ask you to perform some physical tests to determine the location of the pain. He or she will press on your spine in various places to locate the bulging disc. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor will order an MRI or CT scan 

If you believe you have a bulging disc and are entitled to Workers' Compensation, contact the law office of Walker, Billingsley and Bair is a West Des Moines, Iowa for help. 

Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.