There are many different herniated disc causes, from normal wear and tear totraumatic injuries. Additionally, there area number of seeminglyinsignificant activitiesthat we perform day to daythat can contribute tothe development of aherniated disc, includingpoor lifting techniques.
Proper Lifting Technique is VitalBending from the waist to lift an object is one of the most common mistakes that individualsmake, as well as one of many potential herniated disc causes. This movement is harmful to yourback because extreme compression and tension forces are placed on the vertebrae of the lumbar(lower back) region and the back muscles, respectively. Improper lifting sometimes causes aherniated disc when increased pressure and strain is exerted on one or more intervertebral discs(the spongy, shock-absorbing pads that lie between vertebrae). If there is enough force, the disccan rupture, allowing the inner gelatinous core of the disc, known as the nucleus pulposus, toleak through a tear in the disc’s outer wall, or annulus fibrosus. Lifting from the waist could alsoexacerbate any weakening that has already affected an intervertebral disc due to dehydration andother age-related degenerative changes.
Herniated Disc SymptomsSometimes, a herniated disc causes pain if the tiny nerves thatfeed into a disc wall are inflamed or irritated by inner discmaterial. Radiculopathy – or the pain, numbness, weakness, andtingling that can travel down thelength of a nerve and into theextremities – can also occur if theherniated disc material compressesthe spinal cord or a nearby nerve root.
Avoiding a Herniated DiscTo reduce your chances of developing a herniated disc while lifting, youshould practice the following safety tips: • Always squat down to lift an item, as this transfers the physical forces to your legs and not your back. • Keep your spine straight as you squat and lift. • Be sure that your abdominal muscles are tightened when lifting. • Ensure that you have a firm grip on the object you’re lifting, and that it is close to your body when you pick it up.
See Your DoctorIf you believe that a poor lifting technique has caused aherniated disc to develop in your back, you should see yourdoctor or a spine specialist, who can formulate a treatmentplan specific to your condition and lifestyle. In mostcases, conservative (nonsurgical) methods will berecommended first and might include painmedication, physical therapy, hot/cold compresses, mildstretching, and low-impact exercise, among others.