Causes of a Herniated Disc
Causes of a Herniated Disc
As our understanding of medical science and the human anatomy has grown over the years, so does the catalogued list of causes of a herniated disc. Not that many years ago, we thouhgt of a herniated disc as something that can only happen to athletes or people with active lifestyles that can be subjected to trauma resulting in injury. This is no longer the case. Today, more and more people with sedentary lifestyles report having a herniated disc and this growth in the number of cases is becoming more alarming by the minute.
To understand the growth, it is important to understand the mechanics behind a herniated disc so people can assess their vulnerabilities and susceptibilities to the condition. From there, it becomes easy to visualize the many potential causes of a herniated disc.
The spinal vertebra in the back provides mechanical support to the body so that the upper body does not sag down injuring the spinal cord in the process. It is composed of interlinking bones which when in perfect alignment, should be at a state where it does not cause any stress to the neighboring muscles and nerves.
A herniated disc happens when one of these vertebral elements gets out of alignment or damaged to the point the protective gel inside starts to leak out. The resulting change in the mechanics of the spinal vertebra leads to pain when the offset member impinges on nerves or compresses muscles putting undue stress to the back. This may start out as minor discomfort or temporary pain but over time, the stress can be such that the pain may become unbearable. There are also many cases that have led to paralysis.
From here, doctors have surmised the many potential cases of a herniated disc.
1. Trauma remains to be the most prevalent cause simply because getting hit by a substantial amount of force can do a lot of damage to the spine in a number of ways. This often happens to athletes or field workers who lug around heavy cargo. Lifting heavy objects can also cause damage which can lead to a herniated disc.
2. In recent years, the rise in cases of herniated disc from sedentary people has been attributed to poor posture. People who spend a lot of time sitting in front of computers are the most vulnerable. Improper sitting postures or poorly designed chairs put undue stress on the spinal column near the lower back. As this process repeats over years and year, the vertebra can slowly pop out leading to a herniated disc.
3. Old age. Even when you have correct posture and stay away from activities that can cause a herniated disc, old age can be a potent enemy to the back. The vertebral column is held in place by the back muscles and keeping it in alignment requires a good amount of force. Over time, these muscles weaken due to old age. The end result is that the vertebra is no longer supported properly. Also, the disc themselves can actually wear out over time causing them to leak or allow cartilage to protrude onto a nerve.
Any discomfort in a person’s back should be properly consulted to a qualified medical professional to determine if it is a herniated disc. It is no longer enough to assume that one’s profession makes him or her immune to the many causes of a herniated disc. With so many risk factors, everyone is susceptible to back problems so putting in the necessary effort to see a doctor can go a long way towards preventing the condition or arresting it before it develops into something more serious.