Most torn discs have an unavoidable cause: the natural aging process. As we grow older, our bodies experience a great deal of change and the neck and back are no exception. After years of carrying bodyweight and supporting everyday activities such as sitting, standing, and walking, the spine begins to break down. The intervertebral discs begin to lose water content and flexibility, causing them to provide less support to the vertebrae (the bony structures in the neck and back). These degenerative changes can leave an intervertebral disc susceptible to developing a tear, but torn disc prevention is still possible for some individuals.
How to Prevent a Disc Tear
While no one can avoid aging, there are certain things a person can do to promote torn disc prevention and avoid painful symptoms. Those who are concerned about intervertebral disc health should:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Not smoke
- Eat a healthy diet, rich in omega-3s
- Avoid occupations that require heavy lifting or constant twisting, bending or sitting
What to Do if a Disc Tears
If an individual has already developed a torn disc, a number of treatment options are available. Most physicians begin treatment for this spinal condition through conservative means, such as over-the-counter pain medications and physical therapy. If these methods prove ineffective, a physician may recommend surgery. The minimally invasive, outpatient procedures performed by the orthopedic specialists at Laser Spine Institute have a higher success rate than open back surgery, without the lengthy recovery time.