What Causes a Ruptured Disc?

A ruptured disc, also called a herniated disc, occurs when a tear develops in the outer layer of a spinal disc. Then, pressure from the surrounding vertebrae causes the material from the disc’s nucleus to be pushed out. Suppose you are dealing with chronic pain and limited mobility from this condition, and it is affecting your family, job, and leisure activities. In that case, it is vital to learn about the causes and treatment options for a ruptured disc. This information can help you work with your primary physician to develop the best care plan.

What Causes a Ruptured Disc?

There are many causes of a ruptured disc, but the most common is the natural aging process. Years of constant use and stress eventually take their toll on the spine. Also, components of the spine tend to become drier with age. When the spinal discs dry out, they are more brittle and vulnerable to injury.

In addition to the typical aging process, other underlying ruptured disc causes include:

  • Genetics. Some people are genetically predisposed to ruptured discs and other spinal degeneration issues.
  • High-impact sports injuries. Sustaining a hard tackle on the football field or slamming into the boards during a hockey game can lead to spinal injury and weakened discs.
  • Physically demanding jobs. Repetitive lifting with improper technique, operating heavy machinery, and even sedentary desk jobs can increase the chance of damaging spinal anatomy.
  • Unhealthy diet. If you take in too many calories, the resulting excess weight can place increased stress on your spine. Not getting enough water can also cause your discs to not receive the fluid they need to stay flexible and strong.
  • Tobacco and alcohol abuse. Both of these habits reduce blood circulation throughout the body and spine. This can decrease the nutrients and oxygen supplied for tissue repair and spinal health.

Treatment Options

Upon diagnosing a ruptured disc, your physician may recommend conservative treatments such as rest, physical therapy, light exercise, and pain medication. Surgical options may be explored if these treatments prove unsuccessful after weeks or months. Traditional open-back surgery for a ruptured disc is seen as a last-resort option because of its highly invasive nature. Because a surgeon needs to use a sizeable muscle-tearing incision to access the spine, a traditional open spine surgery usually requires an extended hospital stay and a lengthy rehabilitation period.

However, with BEST Health System, we offer minimally invasive surgical alternatives for individuals looking to avoid the typical surgery process. With BEST, you will prevent lengthy surgery time and intense scarring. Are you ready to find relief? Contact BEST Health System today.