Disc protrusion causes — participation in sports

As your doctor can explain, participating in certain sports is one of the underlying causes of disc protrusion. This condition occurs when the nucleus of a spinal disc begins to push outward against the weakened outer shell, causing a protrusion or bulge to develop. Age is a primary cause of this condition, but activities like sports, which increase the stress placed on the spine, can also contribute.

While there is no guarantee that participating in sports will cause this condition to develop or that avoiding sports entirely will prevent it, understanding the contributing factors to disc protrusion can have many benefits. The following information can help you more safely participate in sports and make other lifestyle choices that can contribute to a healthier spine.

Sports that can accelerate neck and back issues

Here are a few examples of the types of sports that can lead to disc protrusions and other disorders of the spine:

  • Football and hockey. Contact sports put tremendous strain on the neck and the back — both from the trauma of hard hits and the full range of motion required from the spine during play.
  • Golf. Golfers are often prone to disc problems because the wide range of motion and repetition required from the golf swing can cause wear and tear. Furthermore, carrying a heavy golf bag and reaching to retrieve the golf ball can cause problems.
  • Weight training. Individuals who frequently train with weights often are at risk for spine issues because of improper lifting techniques, posture problems and strain.
  • Gymnastics. The tumbles, hard landings and spinal contortion required by a gymnast puts a lot of stress on the discs, accelerating the onset of degenerative conditions like disc protrusion.

If you are an athlete who participates in one of these or another sport, there are steps you can take to reduce the strain being placed on your spine. Use safety equipment, be properly conditioned and in good physical health, have proper form and technique and getting enough recovery and rest are some of the ways to lower your risk of developing a disc protrusion.

What’s more, being active, healthy and maintaining a recommended body weight can help reduce the chance for spine degeneration, so there are benefits to sports as well. However, it is a good idea to understand that certain activities come with risks, such as increasing the burden placed on the spine.

Learn more

If you have been diagnosed with a disc protrusion as the source of debilitating neck or back pain but conservative treatments have not allowed you to return to normal activity, surgery can become an option.

For those considering surgery, Laser Spine Institute offers a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures.^ Our minimally invasive spine surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and involves muscle-sparing techniques like a less than 1-inch incision.

To learn more, reach out to our dedicated team of Spine Care Consultants today for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.