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Are You in Danger of a Herniated Disc?

By Sara Butler

Back pain impacts the lives of millions of Americans each year and many of those people seek the help of a chiropractor. Chiropractors don’t simply seek to treat people but also to educate them. The best way to treat back pain, after all, is to avoid it in the first place! Knowledge is power, so avoid falling into the reported one-third of Americans with some form of a herniated disc; here’s what you need to know about risk factors and how your chiropractor can help.

What is a Disc Herniation?

The discs in your spine help to absorb shock and cushion the small bones in your spine called the vertebrae. These discs have two parts: a soft, squishy inner liquid core surrounded by a fibrous outer layer. If the disc becomes compressed or injured, then a crack in the outer layer can result, causing the soft inner layer to leak out. The disc itself may cause pain or the liquid from inside the disc can irritate the spinal nerves close by.

Common Causes

Every person is unique, so what causes a herniated disc in one person may not cause it in another. The most common place for a disc herniation to occur is the lower back since it’s the base of support for the entire upper body and where most of the motions that involve twisting and lifting occur.

The most common causes of disc herniation are:

  • Injury - Any activity that puts stress or strain on your back can cause a rupture of the disc. If you lift something too heavy, lift something improperly, fall, twist, or force your body to twist beyond its capability, this can damage the spinal discs.
  • Age - All discs degenerate with age as the inner layer becomes less pliable as it loses water, which impacts its ability to cushion. The outer layer may also wear down from normal use, becoming thin or frayed and making it more vulnerable to tears or rips.

Risk Factors

If you have any of the following risk factors, then it increases your risk of developing a herniated disc:

  • Excess body weight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Weak muscles in the core
  • Performance of repetitive motions
  • Genetic factors

If you’re worried that you’re at risk for a herniated disc or may have already developed one, then you should visit a chiropractor at The Joint for an evaluation today!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fairfax, Va.

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