A herniated disk is known as a slipped, ruptured, or bulging disk. It is one of the most common causes of neck, back, and leg pain. A herniated disk is an injury of the spine. The bones in the spine are stretching from the base of your skull to your tailbone. There are round cushions called disks between the vertebrae where the disks are performed as buffers between the bones, allowing a person to bend and move. When one of the mentioned disks is hurt, it is called a herniated disk. In the article, we will observe all the possible and available methods to reduce the risks of herniated disks.
Are herniated disks a common problem?
According to statistical data, about 2% of people in the world get a herniated disk. Herniated disks are the main reason for neck, back, or leg pain. Pain can occur at any area of the spine, but the most commonplace is in the lower back or the neck.
Who is in the risk group, and what caused it?
We need to highlight people between 30 to 50, and especially often, it happens to men. However, except for the age group, other risks include:
- sedentary work;
- lifting heavy items for an extended period;
If you feel like some of these items refer to you, you have more risks for back surgery for a herniated disc, search for more info here. Therefore, if you’re in the risk group, it is better to control your weight and healthy habits to prevent the disease.
How is a herniated disk diagnosed?
After you mentioned some discomfort in the spine, you need to ask your healthcare providers to do a thorough exam. The specialist will assess your pain, muscle reflexes, sensation, and muscle strength. Also, you will need to order the following tests:
- magnetic resonance therapy;
- computed tomography;
The mentioned tests will help your doctor detect the herniated disk and start the healing process on time.
Moreover, if you have problems with a herniated disk, your healthcare provider needs to prescribe an anti-inflammatory pain reliever or muscle relaxant. Medication helps you to relieve pressure on your nerves – a spinal injection is a shot of steroid medication in the spine. A large herniated disk might injure nerves to the bladder or bowel. So, the medicine will reduce swelling and inflammation of the nerve from the disk herniation.
How can I avoid getting a herniated disk?
Disc herniation might occur in any segment of the spine, but lumbar herniated discs are some of the most common. The symptoms of a herniated disc may include a sharp and dull pain in the spine, as well as numbness or tingling radiating away from the pain spot. The symptoms can be caused by compression of the nerves in the spinal canal. Moreover, specific movements or positions may exacerbate the symptoms. Therefore, it is significant to use some special techniques to avoid getting a herniated disk.
- use proper lifting techniques. Don’t bend at the waist when you lift heavy objects. It would be best if you bend your knees while keeping your back straight. Also, we recommend using the leg muscles to support the load, not the spinal ones;
- control your body weight. Overweight people have more pressure on the lower back. Excess weight puts added stress on the lumbar discs in the spine, leading to an increase in herniation risk;
- control your posture. When you practice and control the pose, you will lower the problems with the back significantly. A good posture will reduce strain on the spine. Good posture keeps bones and joints correctly aligned and prevents excess wear and tear, leading to painful spinal conditions like herniated discs. We recommend you practice good posture to relax the muscles, sleep on a firm mattress on the back or side, not your stomach;
- stretch your back. If you spend most of your time sitting, it is significant to take stretching breaks. Stay active; an active lifestyle is not only excellent for your overall health but also a herniated disc prevention. Be engaged in regular aerobic activity to reduce all the possible risks;
- avoid high-heeled shoes. Wearing high-heeled shoes will possibly damage your spine with some time. This type of shoe completely changes your spine alignment;
- do exercises. We recommend focusing on workouts that can increase the power of your back and abdomen muscles;
- stop smoking if you do. It is better to stop smoking because it can weaken disks and make them vulnerable to rupture. Smokers have an increased risk of disc herniation because of accelerated disk degeneration and spinal instability;
- change and rethink your sleeping position. It is important to have a good posture when you are sitting and during your sleeping time. If you sleep on the stomach, you put too much strain on the spine, especially the cervical zone. To improve your posture while sleeping, you need to sleep on your back, place a pillow under the knees and use a firm mattress with unique functions. Healthy sleeping is good for joints and muscles and keeps your spine in a neutral position.
While it is not always possible to prevent a herniated disc, there are some steps that you can follow to reduce the risks.
What happens to an untreated herniated disk?
If you have an untreated herniated disk, the situation may worsen, especially if you continue the activities that caused it. In addition, a worsening ruptured disk may cause chronic pain and loss of control or sensation in the affected area.
The discs of the spine can be herniated even despite your best efforts. However, the good news is that it can be treated with physical therapy, injections, or disc replacement. Herniated disc pain in the lower back can differ from a mild ache to a shock-like pain that radiates into a leg. To lower the risks of a herniated disc, you need to follow the mentioned recommendations, such as control weight, take stretching lessons, change your sleeping position, and stop your bad habits.