Aging is the most common cause of herniated discs
There are a wide range of herniated disc causes, but the primary underlying factor for a large number of patients is the natural aging process. The development of a herniated disc becomes more likely with time because of the accumulation of wear from everyday activity along with a decreased ability of the discs to absorb this pressure.
Whether you are currently experiencing pain and other symptoms from a herniated disc or trying to prevent them from occurring, becoming a more educated patient is important. By learning more about how aging can lead to spine conditions, you can become more involved in treatment and give yourself of the best chance of continued normal and healthy activity.
Spinal discs are affected by aging
The spinal discs, which sit between the vertebrae and absorb pressure from weight and movement, tend to become more brittle with age because they naturally lose water content. Not only does this make them less flexible when compressed, but they also shrink. Additionally, the elastin that ensures a disc can rebound from pressure slowly deteriorates. All of these factors can make it easier for cracks or tears to occur in the outer layers of the disc, which can eventually lead to a bulging or torn disc.
Other factors can affect discs
Of course, aging is just one factor behind the occurrence of herniated discs. Others include weight, posture and injury. Not everyone will experience a herniated disc just because they reach middle age, and some people have them much earlier in life, sometimes as soon as their 20s.
If you believe you have a herniated disc — whether you suspect it was caused by aging, sudden trauma, genetics or another factor — your first course of action should be visiting your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Many patients with a herniated disc and related symptoms are able to find relief that offers a return to normal, comfortable activity with options like rest, medication, physical therapy and epidural steroid injections.
For more information
If conservative treatments do not provide needed relief from your symptoms, consider the minimally invasive spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute. Our outpatient procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery performed in a hospital.^
Contact our caring and dedicated team today for a no-cost MRI review* that can determine if you are a candidate for one of our procedures.