Slipped disc prevention
Also known as a herniated disc, a “slipped disc” occurs when a disc in the spine breaks open under pressure from the surrounding vertebrae and the inner disc fluid leaks into the spinal canal.
The most common cause of a slipped disc is the natural degeneration of the spine. That simply means that, over time, the spine undergoes natural wear and tear that can cause the components of the spine to weaken and a degenerative condition to develop. However, because this condition often happens with the aging of the spine, there are certain risk factors that can be prevented with lifestyle changes.
Proper body mechanics for slipped disc prevention
One of the most effective methods for preparing the body to cope with — or even avoid — a slipped disc is to practice proper body mechanics while standing, sitting, walking, running or sleeping. One of the primary roles played by the spine is to support the weight of the upper body, which places a lot of mechanical stress on the vertebrae, muscles, ligaments, joints and discs. Proper body mechanics distribute this stress evenly across the spine.
Here are a few ways to ensure an even distribution of the spine’s workload:
- Stay conscious of how you stand and sit — spine straight, shoulders square, head up.
- Lift heavy objects correctly — emphasize the legs, as opposed to the back.
- Use support if standing for long periods — rest one foot on a stool or small box.
- Don’t lift and twist simultaneously — find a lifting partner if the load is awkward or if stairs are involved.
- Avoid lifting when you are tired or fatigued.
Other effective lifestyle changes to reduce the stress placed on the discs in the spine include:
- Weight loss
- Low-impact aerobics, such as walking or swimming
- Core exercises to help the muscles lift pressure from the spine
- Quitting smoking
Minimally invasive treatment for a slipped disc
Occasionally, patients with a slipped disc or herniated disc will require spine surgery to treat the condition. While traditional open back surgery does have some beneficial results, it also has several risk factors, including failed back surgery syndrome, infection and excessive blood loss.
At Laser Spine Institute, we reduce those risks by using a minimally invasive technique to reach the spine. Instead of tearing and detaching the muscles near the spine through a large incision, our surgeries are performed through a small incision without altering the surrounding muscles or ligaments. This minimally invasive approach to spine surgery allows our patients to experience a shorter recovery period^ than that of traditional open back surgery.
For patients with a slipped disc, a minimally invasive discectomy surgery would remove a piece of the damaged disc that is protruding into the spinal canal. By removing this small piece, the pinched nerve root will be released and the symptoms reduced. If the entire disc must be removed, the surgeon will insert an artificial disc into the empty disc space to maintain stability in the spine. This is called a minimally invasive discectomy and stabilization procedure.
To learn more about the advantages of Laser Spine Institute, contact us today and ask for a review of your MRI or CT scan.