Preventing disc protrusion

Disc protrusion is a condition in which a disc in the spine is damaged, often as a result of the natural aging process of the spine.

As the spine wears down over years of weight gain and repetitive motion, the discs in the spine can begin to tear and become damaged due to the continued pressure of the surrounding vertebrae. This is especially true for discs in the highly flexible sections of the spine, such as the neck and lower back. With every twist and movement, the vertebrae press against the discs, and the elastic outer layer of the disc must work to maintain the proper shape and height to support the spine. When the elasticity wears down, the disc can tear or bulge into the spinal canal, causing a weakness in the spine and possibly compressing a nearby nerve.

Though we cannot control the natural aging process of the spine, there are some preventative measures that can help promote strength and health in the spine, and sometimes prevent or postpone these conditions from developing.

How to lift properly

To help prevent the development of a disc protrusion and other neck and back injuries, the following techniques should be used when lifting items:

  • Keep your feet shoulder width apart
  • Bend only at the hips and knees
  • Keep your lower back slightly arched and pull your shoulders back
  • Lift slowly by straightening the knees and hips
  • When setting objects down, do so carefully and squat if necessary

Your physician, physical therapist and/or personal trainer can also teach you more about proper lifting techniques so that you can avoid damaging your neck and back.

What to do if a disc protrusion occurs

If you think you may have developed a disc protrusion from lifting heavy objects, your first course of action should be to visit your primary care physician. He or she can prescribe conservative treatments that may reduce inflammation and decrease your level of pain.

If noninvasive treatments do not provide any lasting pain relief, Laser Spine Institute may be able to help. We offer minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgery to help remove the pressure of a damaged disc from the pinched nerve that is causing your pain and symptoms. Our decompression surgery removes just a small piece of the disc protrusion, while our stabilization surgery simply replaces the damaged disc with an artificial one to maintain stability in the spine.

Because we have a minimally invasive approach to the spine that does not require the surrounding muscles to be cut or torn, our patients can experience a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery, as well as a shorter recovery time^ and higher patient satisfaction rate.

Contact Laser Spine Institute for more information about our minimally invasive procedures and to schedule your initial consultation.