Your spine is made up of several vertebrae separated by rubbery pads known as spinal discs. Spinal discs have a tough exterior with a softer, jelly-like interior. If a spinal disc is damaged or is under too much pressure, its interior can push through the tough exterior. This is known as a herniated disc, and it can put a lot of pressure on surrounding nerves and cause debilitating pain and weakness.
Herniated Disc Causes
Herniated discs are often associated with aging. As you get older, your spinal discs lose some of their water content and become more prone to tearing or rupturing. Discs that become particularly fragile can herniate if you lift something heavy or twist the wrong way. A heavy blow to the back or some other traumatic incident can also herniate a disc, although this is relatively rare.
Some people are more prone to suffering a herniated disc than others. Some of the risk factors of this condition include being overweight, having a physically-demanding job that requires a lot of lifting or twisting at the waist, and having a family history of herniated discs.
Since it’s tough to determine the exact cause of a herniated disc, you are better off being able to recognize the symptoms and knowing when to see your doctor. Some of the symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Pain in your arm or leg. As a rule, a herniated disc lower in your back will result in leg pain, while a herniated disc closer to your neck will affect your arms or shoulders.
- Numbness or tingling in the affected part of your body
- Muscle weakness
It is entirely possible to herniate a disc and not experience any symptoms. In some cases, a routine examination will reveal a disc herniation in a patient’s spine.
Preventing a Herniated Disc
Even though it sometimes seems like herniated discs just happen as you age, there are things that you can do to prevent them. For example, maintaining a regular exercise regimen will strengthen your trunk muscles and help support your spine. Maintaining a good posture while you’re sitting, bending at the knees instead of your waist when you lift heavy objects, and maintaining a healthy weight will also help to keep your spinal discs healthy.
If you believe that you have a herniated disc, don’t hesitate to contact a clinic like Healthpointe to discuss treatment and rehabilitation. You can also make an appointment with an orthopedist to learn more about how you can recover from this condition and prevent it from occurring in the future. As always, listen to your doctor, and never attempt to do anything too strenuous if you believe you could hurt yourself.