Herniated Discs 101

Herniated discs can be a trying injury to overcome for many people. Approximately one out of three adults who do not have current or previous back pain has significant disc abnormality. This means that there is a very good chance that they have or will develop a herniated disc sometime in the future. 

To put it simply, a herniated disc occurs when a disc’s soft core ruptures and begins to poke outside of the disc. If this happens to you, you might experience arm or leg pain, numbness and or weakness. Any of those symptoms would warrant a trip to see Dr. Cohen. 

Most commonly, the location where a herniated disc will occur is the level between the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae in the lower back; although, they can occur elsewhere, such as in the neck. 

There are several things increase your risk for a herniated disc. These can include being overweight, regularly performing a job or a task that puts a high level of strain on your back, and your family history. In general, herniated discs are most frequently caused by overall wear and tear over the course of a person’s life; however, on top of the previously mentioned contributing causes, improperly lifting something or experiencing a traumatic accident can lead to herniated discs. The majority of herniated discs occur in people over 40 years of age. 

It’s critically important to seek medical attention if you think you may have a herniated disc because they can get worse if left untreated or you can develop complications such as bladder disfunction, bowel disfunction, or complete numbness of the lower extremities. 

How can you prevent herniated discs? In general, living a healthy lifestyle will go a long way. This includes keeping yourself at a healthy weight and exercising regularly. Exercising is particularly helpful in that it can facilitate stability and support the spine to help prevent many back issues. 

 

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