Herniated Disc Causes

Back Surgery Information

A herniated disc is a very debilitating condition suffered by millions of adults every year and there are many reasons why a herniated disc causes pain. Some of these causes are symptomatic of other underlying issues and some of them are caused by injury. Let us look at some of the herniated disc causes and how to avoid them.

Serious back pain is usually caused by wear and tear of the disc. The process is often as a result of aging and is also known as disc degeneration. As the body ages, the discs forming the spinal vertebra gradually begin to lose the fluid that helps maintain their flexibility. This causes the disc to degenerate and the soft tissue inside starts to bulge out, placing pressure on the sensitive nerves around the spinal cord. The nerves become inflamed and irritated, which is what leads to the debilitating pain so inherent in a herniated disc problem.

Age is often the biggest factor in a herniated disc problem. The condition is rare in people below the age of 35, but is much more common between the ages of 35 and 55. As the body ages, the outer shell of the disc slowly degenerates as a result of constant flexion in the spine and general wear and tear of the joints. It can often be a hereditary problem with many generations of the same family afflicted with the painful condition. If the problem DOES run in the family, the onset often occurs at a much younger age than normal, sometimes even as young as 21 or below. Research into herniated disc causes has begun to draw links between specific genes and inherited forms of herniated disc disease.

Herniated disc causes can also be spinal injury related, such as a traumatic injury to the back area caused by an accident. It can also happen as a result of lifting a heavy object, or twisting the spine in an awkward manner. All these incidents can result in tiny cracks appearing in the outer portion of the disc, known as the annulus or disc capsule. The inner jellylike material begins to protrude through these small cracks and tears, which results in the disc rupturing or breaking up into small fragments.

Very often it is the activities that are done repetitively over time that take their toll on the discs in the spine. On their own, these activities might not have caused too many problems, but when combined with the natural aging process, the effect on the spinal discs is catastrophic. Sports related disc problems are common as certain high impact sports like rugby, or intense exercise such as weight lifting, can place a great deal of pressure on the spine.

Work related factors can also cause herniated disc problems. Repeated exposure to abnormally high levels of vibration is known to be a risk factor and this can cause degradation of the disc material over time. Any activity which places undue stress on the lower back should be avoided where possible. Smoking is also known to contribute to disc problems and is best avoided if at all possible.

Many known herniated disc causes should be avoided, especially when the condition is hereditary and the likelihood of developing the disease is high. A healthy diet with joint strengthening supplements will help, as will regular weight bearing exercise to maintain good posture and bone density.