How sports can lead to ruptured discs

Sports are one of the major causes of ruptured discs, right next to aging and genetics. A number of different movements that are common throughout the sports world, including bending or twisting, can contribute to a ruptured disc by wearing down the tough exterior called the annulus fibrosus that serves to protect it. Repeated straining of the spine can cause small injuries to intervertebral discs from overuse which add up over time to further weaken the tissues that make up the discs.

Eventually, these injuries can lead to full disc rupture, which is when the intervertebral disc forms a crack in the outer wall and the inner disc material bulges out. If the location of the rupture is located in the cervical spine (neck), it can cause pain or weakness and a numbing or tingling sensation in the arms, hands and fingers. When the rupture occurs in the lumbar spine (lower back), it can result in sciatica, pain or weakness in the lower extremities and a numbing or tingling sensation in the legs, feet and toes. To avoid the painful symptoms associated with a ruptured disc or to find relief from this condition, read the information below.

Prevention of sports-related causes of ruptured discs

As core stability and exercises are crucial for supporting the spine, you should work with your physician and coach to come up with an exercise regimen that will strengthen the deep muscles aligning your spinal column. Some possible exercises include:

  • Hollowing. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Breathe in deeply while relaxing your abdominal muscles, then pull your belly button in toward your spine. Hold the position for around 10 seconds, while remembering to breathe in and out and stay relaxed. Repeat at least five times.
  • Glute bridge. Lie on your back with your knees bent on an exercise ball. Place your arms along your sides and raise your hips to form a straight line through your knees, hips and shoulders. While making sure your hips aren’t raised too high, hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat at least two to three times.
  • Overhead pulls. In a push-up position, place your shins on the exercise ball and your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Pull your shoulder blades down and push your chest out. Keeping your back straight, begin rolling your legs backward on the ball until your arms are beyond your head. Continue to squeeze your abdominal muscles, then return to starting position. Complete two to three sets and repeat at least five times.

Additionally, stretching, doing yoga and maintaining a proper posture can help to prevent a ruptured disc in the spine.

Rehabilitation for sports injuries involving ruptured discs

Before recommending surgery for a ruptured disc, your physician will come up with a conservative treatment plan that may include the administration of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or steroids to reduce pain and inflammation. After that, your physician will probably want to get you started on physical therapy to help strengthen the supporting muscles and prevent further complications or injuries.

If you are experiencing severe pain or disability from a ruptured disc, surgery may be the better option to consider. At Laser Spine Institute, our board-certified surgeons+ are able to remove the offending fragment causing discomfort. Contact our dedicated team with any questions or concerns you may have about our outpatient procedures.

We have helped more than 75,000 patients to date find relief from their chronic neck and back pain. Ask for your no-cost MRI review* today to determine if you are a possible candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.