The intervertebral discs are made of flexible fibrocartilage known as ‘annulus fibrosus’ with a gel-like fluid called ‘nucleus pulposus’ in their core and present between each adjacent vertebrae in the spinal column, except for the first cervical segment of the spine. These discs are vital in humans for seamless locomotion as their gel-like nucleus absorbs and distributes the pressure subjected on the spine while walking, lifting, twisting or bending. This also makes them prone to severe wear-and-tear and bone-related disorders that can hinder their functionality.

What is a slipped disc?

When a disc weakens and is also subjected to sudden and excessive compressive pressure, there are chances that its outer annulus fibrosis may get deformed or herniated, causing the inner nucleus pulposus to leak out. The leaked fluid can then protrude and compress the nearby nerves and muscles around the spine, causing paresthesia, numbness, chronic and acute pain. This condition is known as a ‘slipped disc’ where the disc doesn’t actually slip but gets herniated.

What are the symptoms of a slipped disc?

Anyone can suffer from a slipped disc, and the severity of the disc damage will also vary from mild deformities to severe disruption. Anyone with a slipped disc will generally experience the following symptoms:

  • Acute pain anywhere along the back, arms and the neck structure
  • Pain while moving the back for activities like bending, standing, turning, etc.
  • Back pain that aggravates every night
  • Itching or tingling sensations in a specific part of the spine
  • A general weakness in the back muscles
  • Feeling numb only on one of the sides of the body

What Causes a slipped disc?

Following are the most common factors that damage the cartilage discs:

Age

Like every other bone part, as we age, the cartilage discs start to lose their lubrication and dry up, making them more prone to unwanted movement.

Sudden unbalanced movements:

This is the most prominent cause as any sudden and unbalanced movement directly forces the discs to compress beyond their yielding strength and suffer easy damage. 

Heavy Lifting

Lifting heavy weights without wearing supportive belts directly compresses your spine and can deform its shape under severe pressure. 

Physically Demanding Jobs

Working on a job them requires monotonous back movements for prolonged years can eventually damage the discs.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Strengthening the discs and the muscles around the spine requires substantial physical exercise. A sedentary lifestyle will cause your discs and muscles to weaken and wear out quicker.

Obesity:

The excess weight body fat causes the spinal discs to undergo constant compression even when the person is at rest.

How can we prevent our spine from having a slipped disc?

We can easily protect our spinal column from unforeseen damage like the slipped disc condition by following simple guidelines such as:

  • Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and practising regular physical exercises
  • Working out at the gym with proper supportive gear under a trainer’s guidance and in moderation
  • Avoiding or giving up smoking tobacco as it weakens the muscles of the entire body including the back
  • Maintaining appropriate body weight and following a healthy diet
  • Keeping your mental pressure in check as it can affect your muscles directly

If you live in Mumbai and wish to learn more about this and several other spinal conditions in detail, then you can simply visit Dr Akhil Tawari, the most adept  Orthopedic Spine Surgeons in Mumbai. You can also visit Dr Tawari’s website to know more about his spinal treatments.