A slipped disc, also known as a
herniated disc, refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (discs)
that sit between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack to make your
spine. A spinal disc has a soft, jellylike center (nucleus) encased in a
tougher, rubbery exterior. A herniated disc occurs when some of the nucleus
pushes out through a tear into the rubbery exterior.
Herniated discs can occur in any part of
the spine and can irritate a nearby nerve. Depending on where the herniated
disc is, it can result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. As you
age, your discs become less flexible and more prone to tearing or rupturing
with even a minor strain or twist. This age-related wear and tear is called
Most people can’t pinpoint the cause of
their herniated disc. Sometimes, using your back muscles instead of your leg
and thigh muscles to lift heavy objects can lead to a herniated disc, as can
twisting and turning while lifting. Rarely, a traumatic event, such as a fall
or a blow to the back, is the cause.
Let’s take a look at what you need to
know about a slipped disc:
Understand the risk factors
There are several risk factors that can
cause a slipped disc. Some include:
- Weight. Excess body weight causes extra stress on the disks in your
- Occupation. People with physically demanding jobs have a greater risk of
back problems. Lifting, pulling, pushing, bending sideways, and twisting can
increase your risk of a slipped disc.
- Genetics. Some people inherit a predisposition to developing a slipped
- Smoking. It’s thought that smoking reduces the oxygen supply to the
disc, causing it to break down more quickly.
Prevent a slipped disc from occurring
To prevent a herniated disc, consider
- Exercise. Strengthening the trunk muscles stabilizes and supports the
- Maintain good posture. This reduces pressure on your spine and discs. Keep your
back straight and aligned, particularly when sitting for long periods.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts more pressure on the
spine and discs, making them more susceptible to herniation.
- Quit smoking. Avoid the use of any tobacco products.
Find the best treatment method
some cases, therapy, medication, or at-home exercises can help reduce pain and
relieve your symptoms. In more extreme cases, your doctor might suggest
surgery. Especially if you have constant pain, numbness or weakness, difficulty
standing or walking, or loss of bladder control.
orthopaedic surgeons on staff at Campbell Clinic are specifically trained to
treat and operate on slipped or herniated discs. Their expertise and in-depth
surgical training can help treat even the most advanced cases of slipped discs.
If you’re ready to address the pain you’re experiencing, make an appointment today.