You have back pain, and you are wondering what could cause it, maybe a herniated disc? Have you been experiencing low back pain or pain in your neck? Is the pain severe? And, lastly, do you have pain radiating down your leg or arm? Some of these symptoms may be attributed to a herniated disc.
Your spine is critical to your body’s continued functioning. Therefore, it is essential to understand the risks and causes of herniated discs, so you can help prevent it from happening again.
To learn more about this problem, here are five causes of herniated discs.
What is a herniated disc?
Your spine is made up of 24 bones, excluding the sacrum and coccyx, called vertebrae. Between the vertebrae are soft rubbery discs. Discs are round and filled with a gel-like substance. The discs are present between the vertebrae to act as shock absorbers, so your vertebrae aren’t crashing against one another every time you move.
A herniated disc happens when a tear in the tough outer covering of the disc allows the contents to migrate into the spinal canal. There is only a small space between your vertebrae and the spinal canal. Therefore, if the contents of the disc spill into the spinal canal, it may put pressure on the spinal nerve. This pressure can cause severe pain, radiating pain, or numbness and tingling in your arms or legs.
- Trauma and Sports Injuries
- Excessive Weight
- Degeneration due to age
Trauma and Sports Injuries
Accidents, such as a fall or a car accident, could cause herniated discs. Heavy impacts can weaken your discs and increase the probability of a herniated disc. Trauma is a sudden shock to the spine and this can cause a jerking or twisting of the spine. Trauma often causes herniated discs.
Sports Injuries are often caused by the same type of motion. Sports, which cause heavy hits to the spine, head, neck, or back, can disrupt the normal structure of the spine. As a result, herniated discs could result from the repetitive and frequent shocks from sports, like football, soccer, or even baseball.
Today in America, obesity is a concern. Obesity and being overweight are health problems that affect many people worldwide. But how does being overweight cause a herniated disc? Besides posing a threat to your cardiovascular system, it also takes a toll on your musculoskeletal health. Excessive weight increases the strain on your spinal discs. The spine relies on a strong set of core muscles in the back and the abdomen. Being overweight causes a weakening of the muscles and allows the spine to move due to the lack of core muscles to keep it in alignment. An increase in weight can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle and without the muscle tone to keep the spine in its accurate alignment, the risk of having a herniated disc becomes greater.
Degeneration of the disc due to age
Disc degeneration happens as you age. The discs can become stiff and the internal material of the disc degenerates. This leads to a decrease in the flexibility of your back. Most disc herniations, that aren’t caused by trauma, tend to happen after the age of 30, with the median age being 50. 60-80% of people experience low back pain at some point in their lifetime. 5-20 people out of 100,000 people suffer from herniated discs. Even a single or excessive strain can cause a herniated disc due to this degeneration.
Really, smoking causes disc herniation? The answer is yes. It’s believed that because smoking constricts the blood vessels, it also causes a decrease in the blood flow and nutrients the discs receive. And this lack of nutrients can cause the disc to weaken, stiffen, and decrease the flexibility of your spine. So, this is the same degeneration that happens with age, but the degeneration may happen sooner due to smoking.
Many occupations, such as nurses, doctors, dentists, construction workers, and any occupation that needs heavy lifting or has repetitive movements, puts you at risk for a herniated disc. Even frequently driving in a car can be a risk factor or cause. Driving involves sitting for extended periods of time and the engine vibration rattles the spine. Maybe you sit at a desk all day. This too can lead to a cause of a herniated disc. It is important to get up and move frequently. Take breaks to alleviate the pressure on your spine. But the biggest prevention of herniated discs in these professions is to use proper body mechanics. Lifting a heavy object by carrying it close to your body, squatting down to pick up objects and using your legs to stand up, and refraining from twisting side to side to lift an object and move it to another area are all examples of using proper body mechanics. This will help you prevent an injury in the future.
These are the primary causes for herniated discs. If you have back pain for an extended period or your pain is so severe that it causes you to be unable to sit or lay down, it’s time to do something about your back.
Herniated Discs Treatment in Caldwell, New Jersey
You and your doctor can treat herniated discs with conservative measures, but surgery is rarely necessary. However, it’s best to understand the possible causes and risk factors for this condition. Prevention is always better than treatment.
At Alternative Disc Therapy in Caldwell, New Jersey, we can provide alternative treatments for herniated discs. Our resident expert, Dr. Warren J. Bleiweiss, is triple board-certified and has more than 30 years of experience dealing with disc problems. He pioneered the oxygen-ozone injection for disc herniation in North America, minimizing the need for surgery. The positive outcomes have been consistent over the years.
For questions on how we can help you, call Alternative Disc Therapy at (973) 403-3334. You may also book a visit through our secure appointment request form. Let us help you relieve your back pain and keep your discs healthy!