Spinal discs are composed of a nucleus and an annulus. The nucleus refers to the gel-like center, while the annulus is the tough exterior. A slipped disc occurs when a portion of the nucleus slips through a tear or rupture in the annulus. Also known as a herniated disc, a slipped disc can be caused by wear and tear, an injury, or a combination of the two. Let’s take a closer look at the three causes, as well as some additional risk factors.
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A slipped disc is often the first sign that a disc is degenerating due to wear and tear. Your intervertebral discs cushion the impact on your spine when you move. That means each time you twist, bend, or walk, the discs absorb the pressure.
Over the years, your discs can begin to wear out, eventually leading to a slipped disc.
Many people suffer slipped discs after a back trauma that results in an injury. This could be due to a direct blow, twisting, or even lifting a heavy object. The trauma puts too much pressure on the disc, causing it to slip out of place. This is common in both workplace injuries and car accidents.
A Combination of the Two
Often, slipped discs are caused by a combination of wear and tear and an injury. When your disc begins to degenerate, it cannot handle the pressure from trauma. That means if you get in a car accident or hurt yourself at work, you’re much more likely to herniate a disc.
Risk Factors That Increase the Likelihood of Developing a Slipped Disc
While slipped discs are caused by aging, injuries, or a combination, there are risk factors that make people more prone to suffering from this condition.
If you engage in physically demanding work, you’re more likely to develop a slipped disc. Your back can only take so much stress before this occurs.
Smoking also puts you in the high-risk category. Nicotine impedes blood flow to the discs. Discs need ample blood to heal when damaged. Also, a lack of blood can cause the discs to degenerate at a younger age. Put down the cigarettes, so you can lower your risk of herniating a disc.
Your DNA can also impact the likelihood of getting a slipped disc. If you have a family history of slipped discs, you’re much more likely to experience one yourself.
Get Help for a Slipped Disc
If you have aslipped disc, seek help. While some slipped discs heal on their own, others require medical intervention.
Also, if your slipped disc was due to a workplace injury or automobile accident, you will need a medical provider to document your injury.