5 Risk Factors that Can Lead to a Herniated Disc

Do you struggle with pain and weakness from a herniated disc? This condition can happen in your neck or back, and the pain can be enough to slow you down. Understanding what places you at risk of having a herniated disc can help you make healthy self-care choices to minimize your symptoms now and prevent the development of any more herniated discs..

Our physicians at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management want to help you understand why you might be struggling with a herniated or slipped disc. Before we discuss the risk factors, let’s review some essential information you need to know about this condition.

Spine 101

Your spine is made up of a series of bones, known as vertebrae. In between the bones are rubbery cushions knowns as discs. Each cushion has a tough exterior and a soft center. Sometimes, the center of the disc pushes out through a weakened or torn area of the outside layer, causing a slipped or herniated disc.

When you have a slipped disc, the nerves around the disc are irritated. This irritation causes numbness, weakness, or pain in your arms or legs, depending on the location of the disc in your spine.

Why do I have a herniated disc?

Several factors might have led to your condition. The good news about most of these risk factors is that you can make lifestyle changes to minimize the risk of developing another herniated disc and lessen the progression of the herniation you already have.

Weight

Being overweight or obese is bad for your overall health. Too many extra pounds can place too much strain on your discs, leading to herniation. Even after you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated disc, carrying excess weight can further damage the disc and worsen your symptoms.

Wear and tear

As you age, you have a normal amount of wear and tear in your spine, which carries and distributes your weight during normal daily activities, such as walking, bending, or twisting. All of this movement combined with the discs losing some of their fluid content as you age places you at a higher risk of experiencing a slipped disc.

Smoking

You might be surprised to learn that smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs. Nicotine and cigarettes can lead to degenerative disc disease, where the discs are weakened and no longer provide cushioning between the bones. As the bones rub together, you might experience improper alignment of the bones and arthritic changes that lead to herniated discs.

Injury

Your spine can suffer injury. Any movement that shifts your spine back and forth quickly can cause the discs to move. Examples of sudden, jerking movements that might place too much pressure on your spine include car accidents, sports-related injuries, or lifting objects incorrectly.

Occupation

If you work in a physically demanding job, you might be at a higher risk of having a herniated disc. Positions where you bend, twist, lift, or push heavy objects can lead to a slipped disc, especially if you perform these activities repeatedly.

If you’re struggling with back pain and need help creating a plan to control your risk factors, you need to make an appointment at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management in Staten Island and Hartsdale, New York. Give our office a call or request an appointment online today to reserve your consultation.

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