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Herniated Disc - Is There A Way It Can Be Prevented?

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MD - Radiology, DNB (Radiology), DM (Diagnostic & Interventional Neuroradiology), CCST (UK)
Neurosurgeon, Kolkata  •  24 years experience
Herniated Disc - Is There A Way It Can Be Prevented?

Rubbery cushions (discs) between the bones (vertebrae) stack up to form the spine. When a nerve between the disc and vertebrae is pressed and inflamed, that condition is called herniated disc. The herniated disc is also referred to as the ruptured disc or the slipped disc. This is caused when the soft jelly is pushed out due to a tear in the exterior. Herniated discs can lead to an irritation of the nerves and result in tremendous pain. It may also cause the arms and legs to become numb and weak. However, some people suffering from this condition may not display any symptoms at all.

Herniated disc generally occur in the lower part of the vertebral column. The herniated disc may also be seen in the thoracic spine or cervical spine. The symptoms of a herniated disc include pain in the legs, feet, or the buttocks, pain in the shoulder blade, tingling of the feet, numbness of the feet and hands, muscle weakness, neck pain or muscle spasm in the neck. Most common causes of herniated discs are aging, excessive weight or lifting of heavy weight.

Prevention of herniated disc

  1. Herniated discs are very commonly found in people who are aged between 35 or 55 years. They are seen more commonly in the men in comparison to the women.
  2. A herniated disc cannot be prevented easily, but there certain things that you can do to reduce the risks. Maintaining the proper techniques of lifting is important. You should not be bending at your waist. You should always bend the knees and keep the back straight. This helps you to use your leg muscles which are very strong to support the weight.
  3. As the saying goes, precaution is better than ​cure, so here are few precautions that can be taken to avoid herniated discs. Practicing a proper posture can help in reducing the risk of a herniated disc. It is extremely important for an individual to maintain a healthy posture while standing, sitting, walking, and even sleeping. It is imperative that you stretch your muscles when you are sitting in one position for a long time.
  4. Another important thing to avoid is high-heeled shoes, as they are few of the most common causes of a herniated disc. It would be a good idea to go for flat and well cushioned comfortable footwear as they can go a long way in reducing the risk of the herniated disc.
  5. Exercising regularly can go a long way in keeping the muscles of the legs, stomach, and back very strong. You should try to balance your flexibility and strength by exercising regularly. The best form of exercise to avoid herniated disc or ruptured disc is aerobic exercise.
  6. It is true that as you start to age, the chances of getting a herniated disc increase significantly. However, if proper precautions are taken, the stress put on the spine can be effectively reduced, thereby eliminating the risk of a herniated disc. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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