What is a Herniated Disc?

What is a Herniated Disc?

herniated disc

A herniated disc occurs when all or part of a disc is forced through a weakened part of the disc.  This may place pressure on nearby nerves or the spinal cord.

Causes of Herniated Discs

A disc can herniate or rupture when part of the center nucleus pushes through the outer edge of the disc and back toward the spinal canal putting pressure on the nerves.  Even the slightest amount of pressure on spinal nerves can result in pain, numbness or weakness in one or both legs.  Herniated disks usually develop gradually due to everyday wear and tear on the spine.  When we age, discs tend to lose some elasticity and water content.

Risks for Developing a Herniated Disc are increased by:

  • Age—age is the most common cause of herniated discs. They are rare in younger people, but common to those aged 35-55.
  • Obesity—increased weight increases the pressure on the discs in your lower back
  • Occupation—if you have a job that is physically demanding and involves repetitive tasks such as lifting, pushing, pulling or twisting, it can place additional stress on the discs
  • Genetics—some people can inherit a predisposition to developing a herniated disc

Reduce your risk of Herniated Discs

There are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your overall risk:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Use proper posture—if your alignment is improved, it may contribute to the health of your spine
  • Use proper body mechanics—changing how you perform activities may help to reduce your risk of a herniated disk—especially activities that you do frequently
  • Exercise regularly

If you are suffering from herniated disc symptoms, take measures to ensure they don’t get worse and call your doctor today.  Schedule an appointment today with one of our experienced providers.