Slipped disc risk factors

Slipped disc risk factors refer to the activities that increase the likelihood a person will develop a degenerative disc. Generally known as a “slipped disc,” this term is actually rather misleading because a disc situated between two vertebrae cannot literally slip out of place. In fact, a slipped disc actually refers to a disc that has become damaged, allowing the gel-like center of the disc to breach the fibrous disc wall and enter the spinal column. This condition can become painful when the contents of the disc compress a nerve root or the spinal cord.

Activities

As a person ages, it is only natural for the spinal anatomy to gradually deteriorate. The discs between vertebrae slowly lose elasticity and become brittle and weak. Eventually, this deterioration can lead to a herniated disc and painful nerve compression. That being said, there are a number of slipped disc risk factors that increase the chance of developing spine problems — particularly in the lower back — which should be avoided, such as:

  • Repetitive activities that involve bending or twisting
  • High-impact sports
  • Smoking
  • Becoming obese
  • Poor posture

Symptoms

A person experiencing a slipped disc can develop a variety of symptoms depending on the location of the problematic disc in the spine. For example, a herniated disc in the neck (cervical spine) can impact the ulnar nerve (nerve that runs near the ulna bone, or “funny bone”) and lead to shoulder weakness, while a disc problem in the lower back (lumbar spine) may compress the sciatic nerve and cause significant pain in a leg. Other common symptoms of slipped discs include numbness or tingling in the extremities, local pain at the site of compression, loss of reflexes and more.

Treatment

Slipped disc occurrences are rather common and usually can be treated through conservative, nonsurgical means, such as pain medication, physical therapy, rest, etc.

However, if you are suffering from a slipped disc and conservative treatments haven’t provided you with the relief you desire, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our state-of-the art spine procedures. One of our minimally invasive outpatient procedures may be just the thing you need to find meaningful relief from neck or back pain, without the invasive nature of traditional spine surgery. Call today to speak to one of our Spine Care Consultants for more information.