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Are You at Risk for a Herniated Disc?

Back problems are pretty common today, especially painful conditions like herniated discs. Whether your job is strenuous or you're an adventure seeker, certain situations put you at higher risk for this condition. 

At Kellogg Brain and Spine, our highly skilled team helps you when your back pain is too much to handle. Dr. Jordi Kellogg is our board-certified neurosurgeon who determines if a herniated disc is the culprit behind your symptoms. If so, he offers quick and efficient treatment so you can put back pain behind you.

What is a herniated disc?

Your spine is a complex part of your body that’s made up of bones called vertebrae. These bones house your spinal cord and keep it protected from injury. In between each pair of vertebrae is a spongy disc that provides cushioning to your spine. Each intervertebral disc has a soft interior with a tougher outer shell.

The intervertebral discs are vital to the movement of your spine, so when something affects them, you feel it. Disc pain may come on suddenly without any injury or provocation. This is because the disc may move out of place, either traumatically or due to other conditions in your spine. When the inner gel-like substance in a disc leaks out, it’s called herniated or ruptured.

The most common place for you to experience a herniated disc is in your lower back, which is also known as your lumbar spine. When the disc ruptures, it puts pressure on the nerves that run out from our spine. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain. 

Symptoms of a herniated disc

Symptoms vary from person to person and depend on where in your spine the injured disc is located. You can have a herniated disc anywhere in your spine, but it’s especially common in your lower back. 

Because your nerves and muscles are affected by the herniated disc, something as simple as laughing or sneezing may bring on symptoms rather suddenly. 

Symptoms that you may experience with this condition include:

You may also experience pain, numbness, or tingling after standing for a long time or walking, even when it’s only short distances. Even the smallest wrong movement may set off any of these symptoms as well.

Are you at risk?

So how do you know if you’re at a higher risk for a herniated disc? The truth is, injuries to your spine may happen at any time, so you’re always at risk. However, there are certain circumstances that significantly increase your risk for disc herniation, some of which can be modified and some that can’t. 

Believe it or not, one of the biggest risk factors for back injuries in general is your job. When your job requires you to be physically active, your risk for a herniated disc is significant. Using proper body mechanics and knowing when to take a break can help reduce the chances of developing a ruptured disc. 

There are a few other risk factors as well, and they include:

You can lower your risk of disc problems by losing excess weight and quitting smoking. Unfortunately, the other risk factors, like genetics, can’t be changed. If you’re at higher risk, make sure to make an appointment with Dr. Kellogg at the first sign of spine trouble.

Don’t let a herniated disc get in the way of the things you love. Click the request an appointment button while you’re here on our website. Or you can schedule a consultation by calling the nearest office in either Portland or Wilsonville, Oregon.

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