3 Risk Factors that Could Lead to a Herniated Disc

Nearly 80% of the population will experience neck or back pain at some point in their lives, and for many it’s lasting and significant. A herniated disc is one of many causes of back pain. While it may occur from injury, it often happens when the disc material of the spine naturally weakens as you age.

Your spine is made up of small bones stacked on top of each other called vertebrae. They form a column that plays an important role in protecting your spinal cord. Between the vertebrae are discs that act as cushions. Think of the spinal disc as a jelly donut. The center consists of a soft, jelly-like material that is encased in tougher exterior. The discs of your back play a vital role in movement. Without these discs you wouldn’t be able to flex, bend, reach, and turn smoothly.

What is a herniated disc?

Herniated discs are a common cause of lower back pain. Herniation occurs when the soft inner cushion bulges out. When this happens, it can press against sensitive nerves and cause irritation and pain. While herniated discs can occur in the neck, they most often affect the lower back, known as the lumbar spine.

If you have a herniated disc, you may experience weakness, numbness, and tingling in your arm or leg, as well as pain in your lower back, especially when bending, turning, or flexing. Herniated discs can also contribute to headaches. People with herniated discs often report a reduction in quality of life.

Treatment for your neck or back pain is vital to bring you the relief you need. At Premier Neurology Medical Group, our experts would like to share some factors that put you at risk for developing a herniated disc.

Excess weight

Carrying excess weight puts pressure on the structures of your back. The weight causes changes in the position of your pelvis that contribute to wear and tear of the shock-absorbing cushions of your spine. If you’re overweight or obese, you’re at risk of developing a herniated disc at some point.

The goods news is that the body responds extremely well to weight loss. Even losing a modest number of pounds relieves pressure on your joints and the other structures of your body, including your spine. Taking steps to maintain a healthy weight can lower your risk of developing a herniated disc.

Advancing age

Aging is inevitable. As you grow older, the discs of your spine age, too, and wear and tear occurs over time. The older you get, the higher your risk of developing a herniated disc. People age 55 and over are more at risk of a herniated disc than younger adults.

Back-stressing occupations

Jobs that require repetitive lifting, bending, twisting, and pulling put you at an increased risk for developing a herniated disc. Using proper lifting technique, wearing a back-stabilizing belt, and using lift assistance machines can help minimize your risk.

Preventing a herniated disc

To help prevent a herniated disc, you can make some lifestyle changes, namely exercising and practicing proper posture.

Exercise 

Strengthening the muscles that stabilize the spine is one of the best ways to build a strong core to help prevent injuries and problems that can lead to a herniated disc.

Maintain good posture

Proper posture is one of the most overlooked ways of keeping your spine strong and decreasing your risk of a herniated disc. When you slouch over your desk at work or slump over your mobile device, it puts pressure on your spine and discs, contributing to wear and tear. Keeping your back straight and aligned can go a long way in protecting your back from injuries and conditions like herniated discs.

Don’t live with the limitations of neck and back pain. Call our office in Beverly Hills, California, to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ravinder Singh to get to the root cause of your pain and achieve effective, lasting relief. Or use our online booking system which makes requesting an appointment even more convenient. 

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