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Can You Prevent a Herniated Disc?

Can You Prevent a Herniated Disc?

Dealing with a herniated disc can be excruciating. This spinal condition can prevent you from enjoying your typical daily routine, work, or even sleeping comfortably. 

A herniated disc occurs when part of the soft, gel-like center of a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the more rigid exterior. It can trigger intense pain, numbness, or weakness, usually radiating down an arm or leg. 

It’s vital for you to recognize the symptoms of a herniated disc early, such as sharp pain in your lower back or unexpected muscle weakness. But preventing it from occurring is even more important. 

While there are no guaranteed ways to prevent a herniated disc, understanding risk factors and making some lifestyle adjustments can significantly lower your risk. 

At SEPA Pain & Spine, we not only help you find effective, long-term treatments for a herniated disc but also recommend preventive actions to protect your spine.

Here, we explain what a herniated disc is and how to reduce your risk of developing this painful condition. 

What is a herniated disc?

Your spine is made up of connected bones called vertebrae. Between each vertebra is a disc, which acts as a cushion and absorbs shock when you walk, run, or jump. 

When the discs between your vertebrae are under too much pressure, the inner gel-like material can push through the disc, causing a herniation. A herniation irritates nearby nerves and causes near-debilitating symptoms.  

The most common symptom is often described as a sharp or burning pain, typically located in the lower back or neck, depending on where the herniated disc is. 

The pain may spread down your legs or arms and intensify when you move, bend, or lift something heavy. The irritated nerves also cause numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. 

How to prevent herniated discs

There’s no surefire way to prevent a herniated disc, but there are ways you can protect your spine and reduce your risk of getting a herniation.

Maintain a healthy weight

If you’re overweight or obese, the excess body weight you carry can significantly strain your spinal discs, particularly those in your lower back. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce this strain, lowering the odds of a disc herniation.

Strengthen your core muscles

Your core muscles play a crucial role in supporting your lower spine. Strengthening these muscles with exercises like planks and crunches can help keep your spine stable and minimize pressure on your discs.

Adjust your posture

Good posture is essential to keeping your spine aligned properly and reducing pressure on your discs and vertebrae. When you sit, especially for long periods, ensure your back is straight, your shoulders are back, and your feet are flat on the floor. This posture reduces the burden on your spinal discs.

Make ergonomic adjustments to your workspace

Adjusting your workspace to be more ergonomic can significantly improve your spinal health. Ensure that your chair supports your lower back, your computer screen is at eye level, and your knees are slightly higher than your hips when sitting at your desk.

Lifestyle changes

Avoid activities that strain your back excessively, such as heavy lifting or repetitive bending and twisting. Include gentle activities in your exercise routine, such as walking or swimming, to help maintain your spine health without undue strain.

At SEPA Pain & Spine, we specialize in diagnosing and treating spinal conditions like herniated discs. Our team provides advanced medical treatments, from physical therapy to pain management medication and minimally invasive surgery, to relieve pain and improve your quality of life.

While preventing a herniated disc isn’t always possible, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk and keep your spine healthy. 

If you’re experiencing painful symptoms or are worried about your spinal health, call us to schedule a consultation at any of our offices in Horsham, Langhorne, Meadowbrook, Chalfont, East Norriton, or Limerick in southeastern Pennsylvania. You can also request one online here.

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