5 Risk Factors That Can Lead to a Herniated Disc

Herniated discs are painful, sometimes debilitating, and impossible to ignore. It can be difficult to know exactly what caused you to slip a disc in your back, but certain factors can put you at risk for herniated discs. Here are five risk factors that can lead to slipped discs, and how you can improve your chances of avoiding them. 

If you have already experienced a herniated disc or have a high chance of slipping one, it's important to know who can help. Dr. William L. Yancey is a pain specialist with two locations in The Woodlands and Houston, Texas. Yancey Pain & Spine provides pain relief for herniated discs, along with nonsurgical treatment that can get you moving again. 

What are herniated discs? 

Every vertebrae in your spine is cushioned by a disc, which absorbs shock and prevents your bones from grinding or bumping together. Each disc has an inner and outer portion. When the soft, inner portion of the disc begins to slip out of the outer ring, the disc becomes herniated. 

This can compress your nerves and lead to pain, as well as issues while walking or standing. Without treatment, herniated discs can greatly lower your quality of life and lead to excessive pain and possibly permanent nerve damage. Conditions that affect your lower spine, like cauda equina syndrome and saddle anesthesia, are also complications associated with herniated discs. 

What increases my chances of getting a herniated disc? 

Herniated discs can happen without warning, but a number of risk factors can increase your chances of slipping a disc. These include: 

Occupation

Those who regularly do manual labor and lifting are at risk of herniated discs. This is because the act of lifting places strain on the lower back, where most slipped discs occur. 

Sedentary lifestyle

Sitting for long periods of time every day can lead to muscle weakness, which increases your risk of back problems — including herniated discs.

Obesity

The more weight you carry, the larger the strain on your spine. This strain can increase your risk of slipping a disc when you twist, turn, or bend over.  

Age and sex

The discs in your spine naturally lose water content and weaken as you grow older, which makes it more likely that they will slip. Men are also twice as likely to slip a disc than women. 

Family history

While anyone can experience a herniated disc, increased spinal degradation can run in the family. If your family has a history of back problems, you might be genetically predisposed to slip a disc, especially as you get older. 

Not all of these factors can be controlled, but you can lower your chances of slipping a disc by exercising regularly, doing stretches, and losing weight. Those who lift weights or work manual labor jobs should always practice safe lifting techniques. 

Do you have a slipped disc? You don't have to suffer or jump straight to surgery. Dr. Yancey can help prepare a treatment and pain management plan for you. 

To get in touch with Yancey Pain & Spine, call the location in The Woodlands or Houston, Texas, or request an appointment using the online booking tool. You can also send the team a message here on the website.

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