A torn intervertebral disc can prove quite painful for some patients. After experiencing the discomfort associated with this spinal condition, many patients are motivated to prevent future disc tears and often begin this process by asking, “What causes a torn disc?” Though some patients may be disappointed to learn that the most common cause, the aging process, is unpreventable, there are still certain risk factors that can be avoided in order to limit the severity of a torn disc.
Torn discs most commonly occur as a result of the natural aging process. As a person grows older, the tough exterior (the annulus fibrosus) of a disc can become less flexible while the soft interior (the nucleus pulposus) can dry out. These degenerative changes often prevent the disc from providing as much support and cushioning to the vertebrae as it did when it was younger and healthier. Everyday activities, such as walking, sitting, and standing, can apply continued stress to the disc, which may cause an older, less healthy disc to tear. Torn discs can also occur in younger patients as a result of sudden, harsh impact, such as that from a car accident or sports injury.
Though this spinal condition is often unpreventable, avoiding the following risk factors can decrease a patient’s likelihood of developing a torn disc:
- Heavy lifting
- High-impact exercises
Patients who are concerned about developing a torn disc should discuss other preventable measures with their primary care physician or neck and back specialist.
Safe, Effective Outpatient Treatments
Those who have already developed this condition may want to consider receiving treatment from the orthopedic experts at Laser Spine Institute. Contact us to learn about our outpatient endoscopic procedures and to schedule a complimentary MRI or CT scan review.