The spinal column is composed of a very complex and intricate network of blood vessels, nerves, and bones. When a spinal disc is out of place, it disturbs the balance of this network. A herniated disc, also called a slipped disc, can become very painful and is experienced mostly by older adults.
Definition of a Herniated Disc
A herniated disc occurs when the flexible inside portion of a spinal disc is pushed through a tiny break in the harder outer part of the disc. This can interfere with the anatomy of the spinal column. Some people never know they have a slipped disc until they receive a medical exam that involves obtaining a spinal image. It usually causes a condition known as a pinched nerve. In other words, the protruding part of the disc pushes against a nerve. When this happens, symptoms like pain and weakness can be experienced in the arm or leg. In rare instances, the pain can be severe.
For the most part, herniated discs occur because of disc degeneration due to the aging process. As we age, spinal discs begin to lose some of their water content and become dry and brittle. The wear and tear of the spinal column will usually result in tiny cracks in the discs that the soft inner part pushes through.
Improper Posture When Lifting Heavy Objects
Sometimes herniated discs are caused by constantly lifting heavy objects with the back instead of the legs. People who work in warehouses and perform jobs involving constant labor in the form of lifting are at a high risk of developing the condition.
Employees who regularly do heavy lifting will often find posters on the wall that display the correct way to lift with the legs. That’s how important it is to lift heavy objects the proper way.
Outside of just lifting heavy objects the wrong way, constant strenuous activities that involve twisting and turning can cause herniated discs. Many professional athletes often experience the pain and immobility of these slipped discs and have to take time out to be treated for them.
Being overweight can put pressure on the spinal column and push the spinal structure out of balance, leading to a herniated disc.
In some instances, the predisposition for developing this condition might be inherited. Although research is being conducted, the reason for this is not currently clear. It has been suggested that it might have to do with a slightly irregular spinal alignment that can be inherited and lead to a herniated disc over time.
When To Call a Doctor
If herniated discs are not treated, they can soon lead to severe pain and serious immobility. If you have back pain that shoots down your arms or legs, it’s time to set up an appointment to see us at La Grange Chiropractic. We are located in La Grange and will be happy to develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and learn more.