A herniated disc is a common source of neck or back pain. Discs are the soft, cushion-like pads that are located between each set of two adjacent vertebrae in the spine, and they act as shock absorbers – providing stability and flexibility to the spine.
A disc becomes herniated when the thick outer layer of the disc tears, allowing its gel-like interior to leak out. However, the “leak” isn’t like a liquid leak – instead, the soft interior bulges through and remains there, sometimes pressing and irritating nearby nerves in the spinal cord.
A herniated disc also referred to as a ruptured disc, can be caused by a number of factors. However, they primarily occur as a result of age-related wear-and-tear and dry-out are known as disc degeneration. This makes them less flexible and more prone to tearing and cracking. Other factors that can increase your risk of a herniated disc include being overweight, smoking, poor posture, and repetitive movements, such as bending, twisting, lifting, or pulling.
How Can I Prevent a Herniated Disc?
Fortunately, herniated discs are treatable and can often be prevented by implementing certain lifestyle changes and strengthening exercises, which can help to keep the spine strong and healthy:
Strengthen Your Core
Having a strong core can help to protect your intervertebral discs and prevent damage and injury to your back. The core comprises the muscles of the torso – including the abdominal area and the back. There are a variety of exercises that can be performed to help strengthen the core muscles, including Pilates and yoga.
Improve Your Overall Flexibility
Keeping the body mobile and flexible helps to reduce injury to the spine. Simple exercises such as bending down to touch your toes from a standing position can help to loosen muscles. Ensure that you keep your knees slightly bent, and bend down at the hips while keeping your spine straight. If you can’t reach your toes, stretch down as far as you can without causing pain.
Maintain Good Posture
A sedentary lifestyle such as sitting at a desk for long periods can lead to back problems and degenerative disc disease. Poor posture while lifting, and physically demanding occupations that require repetitive movements that pull on the back, can all hasten disc degeneration and herniation.
Maintain a Healthy Weight and Diet
A healthy, nutritious diet can help to prevent obesity and can reduce stress on the spine. Being overweight can significantly contribute to symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease which can lead to herniated discs. Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep your system flushed out.
Vitamins such as calcium and vitamin D are also essential for keeping bones strong, including the bones of the spine. A lack of calcium can lead to low bone density and can therefore increase the risk of bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Treatment for Herniated Discs in Rochester Hills, MI
If you are looking for relief from a herniated disc or general back pain, seek expert care from the spine specialists at Ahlgren Spine. We offer a variety of non-surgical and surgical treatments to alleviate your spine pain, and we can find a treatment that works for you.
To find out more about the services we provide or to schedule a consultation with our spine specialist Dr. Ahlgren, call us today at (248) 215-8080. You can also fill out our online request form to arrange your visit. We look forward to being your healthcare partner!