The spine consists of a series of bones referred to as vertebrae. Between each bone is a small, flat disc. The disc acts as a shock absorber, providing cushion and facilitating easier spinal movements. The discs are made up of the annulus (outer fibrous and flexible layer) and the nucleus (inner jelly-like material). You may experience disc herniation Rego Park when the annulus tears and the nucleus pushes through the opening, affecting their cushioning effectiveness. Herniated discs, also called ruptured, bulged, or slipped discs, are the common causes of back and leg pain and weakness.
A major disc herniation risk is aging owing to the wear and tear experienced over time. Herniation could also be caused by trauma, such as after injury, or disc degeneration diseases. The good news is that disc herniation can be prevented, mainly with a few lifestyle changes. Among the pointers to consider include:
1. Weight management
Excessive weight puts extra pressure on your spine and knees. The strain can also impact your posture, further increasing disc herniation risks. Excess weight/obesity impacts your overall health, and shedding even a few pounds can significantly improve your wellness, including reducing disc herniation risks.
2. Improve your posture and technique
How do you stand, sit, walk, or run? Poor posture strains the spine and the discs, mainly in the lower back and the neck, speeding up the wear and tear. Improving your posture, including investing in an ergonomic chair and desk, keeping your head up, and ensuring the shoulder and spine remains straight, can help keep disc herniation at bay.
Besides the posture, your technique, especially when lifting heavy objects, could be increasing disc herniation risk. Lifting with the back is a lot more common since most people tend to bend at the waist. You should instead lift heavy objects with stronger leg muscles. An ideal posture entails bending the knees and keeping the spine aligned as you stand with load, which uses the legs, not the spine. Good posture and techniques keep the spine aligned and avoid the extra strain that can rupture the discs or speed up wear and tear, minimizing rapture risks.
3. Physical activity
Physical exercise is at the epicenter of healthy living. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, and with exercises tailored to strengthen your core muscles, you improve and keep the spine stable. This helps minimize the chances of a slipped disc. Try exercises that do not stress your back much, like cycling and swimming.
4. Sleep on your back or side
Sleeping on your stomach causes more stress on the back and can lead to a herniated disc. Avoid it, and try sleeping on your back or the side.
5. Avoid smoking
Smoking puts you at high risk of many health concerns, disc herniation included. Tobacco can accelerate spinal degeneration, which impacts your disc’s structural integrity, making them prone to ruptures.
6. Stress management
Stress can increase pressure on your spine since it leads to tight ligaments and muscles. Besides psychological impacts, stress can cause considerable physical effects. This emphasizes the need to give it the weight it deserves and keep stress at manageable levels as you strive to lead a healthier life.
Herniated discs can affect your mobility, cause significant pain, and impact your routine and quality of life. Implementing preventative measures, as highlighted above, can help. If you suspect you have a slipped disc, seeking professional assistance is recommended, especially since, if left untreated, you could develop chronic pain and cause nerve damage. Contact Comprehensive Orthopedic & Spine Care today for more on herniated discs, prevention, and treatment options.