When you picture a slipped disc, you might think of a spinal disc popping out of its position between two vertebrae. However, the term ‘slipped disc’ actually refers to a condition called spinal disc herniation, in which the outer wall of the disc expands and exerts pressure on nearby nerves. The disc itself does not move, but rather it changes shape by becoming flattened in the middle with a bulging outer edge. This condition is common to the lower back, but it can occur anywhere in the spine. Here is a look at some of the potential causes that can contribute to a slipped or herniated disc:
- Acute injury: Sudden impact to the spine can cause disruption to a vertebral disc, because one of the primary functions of these structures is shock absorption. The gel-like fluid in the center of the disc will begin to push outward and cause the outer walls of the disc to weaken. In severe cases, the disc can actually rupture and cause ongoing pain.
- Aging: Because the discs in the spine are primarily composed of water, they are prone to natural dehydration that occurs with age. As they lose their water content, the discs can become flattened by the weight of the vertebrae and distorted in shape.
- Sedentary lifestyle: When you spend most of the day sitting down, the muscles that support the spine become weaker, and you are more likely to sustain injuries in your back. Additionally, sitting down is not ideal for good spinal posture, so pain and disc herniation can develop as the result of pressure in the lower back over an extended period of time.
There are many non-invasive ways to relieve the pain of a herniated disc, including physical therapy, massage, and spinal manipulation. See which of these treatments is right for your condition by scheduling a consultation with Peterson Chiropractic at (212) 242-3210.