Does the mere mention of a herniated disc send shivers down your spine? We understand. This spine condition is often associated with intense pain, restricted movement, and a significant impact on your quality of life.
But while it's a common condition, misunderstandings abound. What exactly is a herniated disc, what causes it, and most crucially, can you prevent it?
Take a moment as he explains the what, why, and how of herniated discs and how to prevent the painful condition.
Let’s start with the “what.” Your spine is made up of a stack of bones called vertebrae, and in between each of these bones is a disc. These discs serve as a cushion to absorb shock and protect your vertebrae from wear and tear.
When a disc herniates, it means the soft, jelly-like center has been pushed out beyond its tough, rubbery exterior. This can lead to irritation, pressure on the surrounding nerves, and pain.
The most common cause of herniated discs is aging. Over time, your discs dry out and lose their flexibility, making them more prone to tearing or rupturing with even a minor strain or twist.
Factors that might increase your risk include physically demanding jobs, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and genetics.
So can you prevent herniated discs? The answer is complex. While you can't stop the aging process or change your genetic makeup, of course, you can make lifestyle changes and form habits that lower your risk.
Keeping your body active and fit is one of the best defenses against many health conditions, including herniated discs. Exercise strengthens your core muscles which, in turn, supports and protects your spine. Activities like swimming, walking, or yoga can be particularly beneficial.
Excess weight stresses your spine, increasing your risk of developing disc problems. Eating a balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle can help keep your weight in a healthy range.
Whether you're lifting heavy objects or simply sitting at a desk, pay attention to your posture. When lifting, use your legs and keep your back straight. When sitting, choose a chair with good lower back support, keep your knees and hips level, and take regular stretch breaks.
Smoking can reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches your discs, leading to quicker degeneration. Seeking help to quit smoking can benefit your spine health and overall well-being.
While these prevention tips are great starting points, remember that everybody is unique. We're committed to personalized care at HAAS Spine & Orthopaedics and can help you build a prevention plan tailored to your needs and lifestyle.
Prevention is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to spinal health. If you're experiencing back pain, don't ignore it. It's essential to get any symptoms checked out as early as possible. Early detection can lead to more effective treatments and a quicker recovery.
Request an appointment online or call us at 818-500-9286 today.