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What Causes Herniated Discs?

Did you know there are “rubbery cushions” stacked in your spine between vertebrae to keep you upright and pain-free? These are called spinal discs. A disc is like a gel pack. It has a tough exterior and a soft interior. A bulging disc, also known as disc protrusion, the “cushion” protrudes from between the vertebrae but has not yet herniated. When an individual experiences what’s called a herniated disc, otherwise called a slipped disc, the “cushion” bulges from between the vertebrae and the soft cushion interior pushes out into the spinal canal through a tear in the tough cushion exterior.

As a herniated disc forms, it goes through four general stages: Disc degeneration, prolapse, extrusion, and sequestration. A herniated disc can irritate nearby nerves in the spinal canal, which can result in discomfort, pain, or even debilitation. This pain can be felt in the back, arms, legs, or other areas of the body. Typically, the pain is related to the nerves of the herniated disc is affecting.

Surprisingly, some individuals with herniated discs have little to no symptoms. Although this is rare, it is possible. Nonetheless, it’s important to understand that most slipped discs do cause discomfort, pain, and other symptoms. Here are 3 common herniated disc causes:

1. Disc Degeneration

As we age, our spine — and the rest of our body — degenerates. This is called aging. The daily wear and tear on your spine can result in a bulging or herniated disc, which leads to discomfort, pain, and potential nerve damage. Our backs carry and distribute a lot of our weight. The “cushions” between our vertebrae absorb a lot of the shock through our body during movement. As we move around, the tough cushion exterior, also known as the annulus fibrosus is worn down and can tear, rip, or burst, resulting in a herniated disc; the soft cushion interior, otherwise called the nucleus pulposus, will leak into the spinal canal.

2. Injury Or Damage

If you or someone you love sustains an injury due to an accident, slip, or fall, it can cause a disc bulging or herniation. For example, if you get rear-ended in a car accident, the shock of the vehicle crashing into you could cause enough pressure on your spine to injure it, which can include the bulging or slipping of a disc.

3. A Combination Of Injury And Degeneration

As you age, your body will become more prone to injury. For example, over time your spinal discs will degenerate due to aging. A mild injury when you were younger like tripping and falling could result in serious, painful consequences as an older adult. Furthermore, your disc could degenerate to the point that running into a door or bumping into someone at the store on accident could could cause your disc prolapse to extrude into the spinal canal, resulting in a bulging disc. Finally, something as simple as a sneeze can herniate a disc. This is why it’s important to understand your own physical health to prevent such injuries.

Senara: Live Life Well

When it comes to a bulging or herniated disc, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment to remedy the pain. Back pain treatment for any cause needs to be individualized for the person suffering from the pain. There are a number of reasons why spinal discs may bulge or burst. Diagnosing the issue and determining the best treatment is imperative to a full, healthy recovery. Contact Senara to schedule an appointment for chiropractic care or physical therapy today!

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