Herniated disc causes — how the discs degenerate and sustain injury
To better understand a herniated disc, it is helpful to learn about how the discs function within the spinal column. These discs, which help absorb the shock of everyday movements, are composed of an inner core and a tough outer layer. Problems can arise when the outer layer begins to lose flexibility, causing the disc to flatten or bulge after repeated loading.
A herniated disc develops when the weakened outer layer develops a tear that allows inner material to be pushed out into the spinal column. In many cases, patients may not even realize that they have a herniated disc until the disc begins to compress the nerves in the spine, causing pain and other issues.
What leads to a herniated disc?
Usually a herniated disc is caused by natural aging and related changes to the spine. As the body ages, it begin to lose its water content. This drying affects many components of the body, including the discs in the spine. Discs tend to become more brittle as they dry out, which makes the outer layers more likely to rupture because they are less elastic.
Getting older isn’t the only way someone can develop a herniated disc, however. Other contributors include:
- Repetitive motion or traumatic injury, such as a car accident
- Carrying extra body weight
- Smoking or excessive alcohol consumption
While no one can avoid the natural aging process, doing everything you can to promote a healthy spine and live a healthy lifestyle can decrease your chances of developing a herniated disc.
How can a herniated disc be treated?
No matter the cause, herniated discs are generally treated first with conservative therapies. Many people respond positively to stretches, exercises, physical therapy sessions and pain medications designed to manage any pain and improve range of motion. However, if you have fully exhausted conservative treatment and are exploring the possibility of surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today.
Our minimally invasive spine surgery provides many advantages compared to traditional open neck or back procedures, such as a smaller incision, lower infection and complication rates, and no lengthy recovery.^ To learn more, reach out to our dedicated team today.
We can happily provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.