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How To Prevent Recurrent Disc Pain?

Written and reviewed by
MPTh/MPT, PGDYT, (FAGE) Fellow of Academy of General Education
Physiotherapist, Bangalore  •  12 years experience
How To Prevent Recurrent Disc Pain?

Back pain can be debilitating and one of the main causes can be a weak disc. There could be an inflammation of the disc or prolapse which can cause pain. In most people, poor posture along with lack of physical exercise can lead to recurrent disc issues and pain.

The disc is basically a layer of soft tissue, which is present between two vertebrae. This tissue can slip out of its space, causing prolapse or a hernia. Depending on the exact location, it can be cervical, thoracic, or lumbar disc hernia. Though there is treatment available in the form of medicines and exercises to even surgery, recurrent disc pain is best prevented, in ways mentioned below:

1. Strengthen the abdomen: One of the main issues for recurrent disc pain is a bad abdominal musculature. The key is to support the back and improve posture so that the back muscles are strong and disc pain is prevented. Crunches, sit-ups, and other exercises to improve spine stability are highly recommended. When lifting things off the ground, it is always advisable to sit down and pick things up rather than bend down and pick up. Bending down to pick up things, especially heavy ones, can cause severe disc prolapse almost immediately.

2. Weight management: Being overweight can put pressure, especially on the low back (thoracic and lumbar spines) and cause a hernia in the lower back. Weight management, therefore, assumes great significance.

3. Stress management: One of the main causes for the increased incidence of back pain is higher levels of stress. This can be improved by stress management techniques including meditation and yoga.

4. Yoga: This not only helps in stress management but also keeps a person flexible. It improves circulation, joint mobility and so helps in preventing back pain.

5. Posture changes: If a person is diagnosed to have poor posture (stooped, drooping, etc.), then they should be taught to sit upright with adequate back support so that recurrent disc pain is prevented.

6. Exercise: If a person has had a herniated disc, then the doctor would recommend a chiropractor or physiotherapist to improve pain control. A set of exercises would be taught to improve abdominal strength. They also would instruct on ways to do this properly, so that recurrent disc pain can be avoided.

7. Pain control: This needs to be followed sequentially. In addition to injections of corticosteroids and painkillers for immediate relief, a person also can have painkillers at disposal to take when required. As a last resort, surgery may be done but needs to be followed up with exercise so that recurrent disc pain is avoided.

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