One of the leading herniated disc causes — aging

The natural aging process is one of the leading herniated disc causes that is often found in individuals over the age of 50. In fact, many people will develop some sort of degenerative disc disease, often a herniated disc, as the spine wears down due to age. This can be frustrating information to hear because we can’t avoid getting older and it feels as if we are not in control of the condition of our spine.

However, there are many different risk factors in addition to age that can increase the likelihood that you may develop a herniated disc. That is why having a basic understanding of these causes by reading the information in the following article can help you reduce the chance of developing a problem in your neck or back as you grow older.

What is a herniated disc?

In a healthy spine, discs act like the body’s natural shock absorbers. These thick and spongy pads separate vertebrae and give the neck and back the flexibility they require for regular movement. Each disc features a tough outer layer and gel-like center. When a disc herniates, it develops a tear in its outer wall, which leads to the inner disc fluid seeping into the spinal canal and possibly impacting a nerve root, causing pain and discomfort.

What does aging have to do with spinal deterioration and a herniated disc?

As we grow older, the discs in the spine naturally begin to deteriorate as a result of:

  • The burden of supporting the majority of the body’s weight
  • The strain of repetitive bending, lifting or twisting
  • The normal dehydration of the disc’s inner core
  • The natural weakening of the disc’s walls

When you consider all of the changes that occur in the spine over time, it’s no wonder that aging is one of the most common causes of a herniated disc in the neck or back. The pressure of the surrounding vertebrae on a disc, coupled with the natural dehydration of the disc, could easily result in a damaged and herniated disc in the spine.

Treatment for a herniated disc

The problem with herniated discs is that the ruptured disc material sometimes comes into contact with a nearby nerve root or even the spinal cord, which can lead to a number of debilitating symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling and weakness. If this is the case for you, then your doctor may recommend beginning a conservative treatment regimen to ease your symptoms.

In the event that several weeks or months of nonsurgical treatment such as pain medication, physical therapy, chiropractic care, anti-inflammatories and epidural steroids have failed to provide relief, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery.^

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive discectomy and stabilization surgery to remove part or all of a damaged disc depending on the severity of your symptoms. The disc is then replaced with an artificial disc to relieve pressure on the pinched nerve and stabilize the spine. If a small amount of the herniated disc is removed, an artificial disc or bone graft may not be necessary to support the spine.

As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. To find out if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.*

Browse Related Resources