Herniated Discs: Who Gets Them And How To Avoid Them

Herniated discs can cause major back pain issues, so you'll want to avoid them. When you have a herniated disc, even doing simple chores can be difficult. Unfortunately, herniated discs are quite common and easy to acquire if you are not mindful of your back. Here is more information about how to avoid herniated discs and who is more likely to get them.

What Is a Herniated Disc?

You may know a herniated disc by its other names: slipped disc or ruptured disc. Your spine consists of many bones cushioned by firm, rubber-like discs. When a disc is herniated, the soft inner nucleus has pushed out through the tougher harder covering, or annulus. Often, these protrusions press on major nerves. In addition to pain, you may also experience numbness and weakness in your extremities.

Who Is at Risk for a Herniated Disc?

People who are entering middle-age or older are at higher risk for developing a herniated disc. As you get older, these discs dry out, shrink, and become less flexible. Overweight people also have a high risk due to the stresses the extra weight puts on the spine. Smokers are more likely to get a herniated disc because smoking affects blood flow and contributes to premature disc wear.

What Activities Increase the Chance of a Herniated Disc?

For some people, a simple twist or wrong turn is enough to cause a herniated disc. In addition to sudden twisting motions, improper lifting can increase your chance of a herniated disc. Jobs with repetitive movements are also at high risk. For some people, excess sitting or even housework activities can cause the condition. This is especially true if you are out of shape and take up new physical activities after a long period of inactivity.

How Is a Herniated Disc Treated?

Fortunately, herniated discs are treatable without invasive measures like surgery. You may only need rest if your case is mild. However, if your pain is severe and persistent, then you must be evaluated and treated by a specialist. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the pain. You may also benefit from physical therapy to strengthen your back muscles. Severe cases may require surgery after all other options are exhausted.

If you have pain in your back so bad that you cannot function normally, then seek out a back pain management facility. While herniated discs are easy to treat, you need an examination to rule out more serious problems. A back pain or herniated disc specialist knows what to look for and what treatments work best.