orthopedics, sports medicine

What is causing my back pain?

Back pain can be caused by a variety of issues. A common condition that causes discomfort is known as a ruptured or herniated disc.

This condition occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior casing.

Some herniated discs cause no symptoms. Others can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg.

Not every disc needs intervention, as your Signature Medical Group orthopedic specialist will tell you. But if you need treatment, our doctors can prescribe medication, physical therapy, and possibly surgery.

In many cases, a herniated disc is related to the natural aging of your spine.

In children and young adults, discs have a high water content. As we get older, our discs begin to dry out and weaken. The discs begin to shrink and the spaces between the vertebrae get narrower. This normal aging process is called disc degeneration.

In addition to the gradual wear and tear, other factors can increase the likelihood of a herniated disc:

Gender. Men between the ages of 30 and 50 are most likely susceptible.

Improper lifting. Using your back muscles to lift heavy objects, instead of your legs, can cause a herniated disc. Twisting while you lift can also make your back vulnerable. Lifting with your legs, not your back, may protect your spine.

Weight. Being overweight puts added stress on the discs in your lower back.

Repetitive activities that strain your spine. Many jobs are physically demanding. Some require constant lifting, pulling, bending, or twisting. Using safe lifting and movement techniques can help protect your back.

Frequent driving. Staying seated for long periods, plus the vibration from the car engine, can put pressure on your spine and discs.

Sedentary lifestyle. Regular exercise is important in preventing many medical conditions, including a herniated disc.

Smoking. It is believed that smoking lessens oxygen supply to the disc and causes more rapid degeneration.

If you’re experiencing back pain, it’s time to quit suffering. Make an appointment today to see one of our Signature Medical Group orthopedic specialists.