5 Tips to Reduce Your Risks for a Herniated Disc

There are many reasons why back pain occurs. Sometimes it’s the result of an injury and sometimes it’s the result of using improper lifting techniques. Back pain can also occur as a result of underlying conditions such as arthritis or herniated discs. Research shows that up to 20 out of every 1000 adults experience pain associated with herniated discs.

At Spine Group Beverly Hills, we understand just how the pain and weakness of a herniated disc can impact your life. That's why it’s Dr. John Regan’s mission to help you get relief from back pain. We’re happy to provide the treatments and lifestyle tips to keep your spine healthy and happy!

Here’s a quick guide to help you reduce your risk of developing herniated discs.

What is a herniated disc?

So what exactly is a herniated disc? First, let’s look at your spine. Your spine contains vertebrae, which are small bones. In between each vertebra, there is a small disc or cushion. This disc -- which acts as a shock absorber in your spine -- is made of a gel-like nucleus and an outer layer called the annulus. 

A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like nucleus protrudes out of a tear in the disc. When the gel-like center bulges out, it can press on the nerves in your spine, which can cause pain and discomfort, tingling, and even numbness. 

You might also hear this condition by other names: slipped discs, bulged discs, or ruptured discs.

Herniated discs can occur from wear-and-tear, but it’s important to know that you can reduce your risk by following these five tips:

1. Exercise regularly

Exercise is a good way to prevent back pain, especially pain back due to slipped discs. When you strengthen your core muscles, your back is supported even more. As a result, the stability of a strong core reduces the chances of disc herniation.

Tip: Certain exercises like, swimming, cycling, or walking can help you lose weight without putting too much stress on your back. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for a healthy spine.

2. Practice safe lifting 

Always practice safe lifting techniques, whether you’re lifting a bag of groceries or a heavy box. Improper lifting, such as lifting while twisting, puts too much stress on your spine. Safe lifting tips include:

For awkward-shaped items or heavy items, consider using a dolly to prevent back strain.

3. Use good posture

Poor posture, whether that’s sitting or standing, can contribute to lower back pain. Use these tips to improve your posture and keep your spine healthy and happy:

If you’re working at home, consider making a few changes to your at-home work station. Use a chair with lumbar support and adjust your computer monitor so it’s directly in front of you at eye-level. Twisting to see the screen can exacerbate back pain.

4. Rethink your sleeping position

We just covered posture in the previous section, but good posture applies even while you’re sleeping. Sleeping on your stomach puts too much strain on your spine, especially your cervical spine. To improve your posture while sleeping, keep these tips in mind:

Healthy sleeping habits aren't just good for your back. They're good for all your joints, especially your shoulders and hips.

5. Say no to cigarettes

Smoking is well-known for its impact on lung health, but did you know smoking impacts spinal health too? Studies show that smoking cigarettes are linked to higher incidences of back pain.

How can you treat a herniated disc?

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, discs still become herniated. The good news is herniated discs can be treated. Whether you need physical therapy, injections, or disc replacement, we are here to guide you with your next steps. 

When you’re ready to explore your options, check out our website, and schedule an appointment at our Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, California, office.

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