If you experience pain in the back or neck with concomitant numbness or weakness in your arms and legs, consult your doctor as there is a good chance that you might be suffering from a slipped disc. So, does the term ‘slipped disc’ make you think that there is some organ located in your back that actually slips from its original place? If yes, you are quite mistaken. To know more on a slipped disk per se, it will be helpful to know what exactly a spinal disc is. Did you know twenty four individual bones called vertebrae go into the making of your spine? These two dozen bones are stacked on top of each other giving your back an erect posture. Between each of these spinal vertebrae, there sits a soft protective cushion. These cushions are circular pads of cartilage or connective tissues that serve as protective buffers to make the spine flexible while running or jumping. Sometimes, the outer layer of the discs can split or rupture making the inner gel-like substance leak out. This condition is known as slipped disc or herniated disc. A disc does not actually slip, therefore, the term is a misnomer. People between the age of thirty and fifty are most at risk of herniation because the elasticity and water content of the gel like substance (nucleus pulposus) decreases with age. Let’s explore some of the causes of slipped discs.  

Slipped Disc Causes

  • A slipped disk can be caused by a compression in the nerve that can lead to back pain and tingling or numbness in the legs or arms. The most common location for the disc to rupture is the level between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae in the low back. This is because this area constantly absorbs the impact of bearing the weight of your upper body, especially while standing or sitting. The lower back is also critically involved in simple body movements such as twisting the torso, rotating from side to side or hinging the back in flexion and extension while bending or lifting.
  • Another major cause of herniated disc is injury in the spinal area. The disc can get fractured due to many reasons. An unfortunate fall, an automobile accident and injury to the back while playing sports or other activities all can lead to a herniation in your spinal disc.
  • A major component of the disc is water. As we age and approach our thirties, the water content starts ebbing. This causes the discs to shrink and lose their shape. When the disc becomes smaller, the space between the spinal vertebrae becomes smaller and narrower. Even the disc itself becomes less flexible once the water content starts reducing. This can lead to a breaking down of discs.
  • While lifting heavy objects, we often use lifting techniques that are not proper. The resulting strain causes imbalanced and uneven pressure around the muscles that pull your spine out of its normal position. Over a period of time, such imbalances due to improper bending, pulling and pushing cause enough damage for the person to develop disc issues in the spine.
  • It is very often seen that wear and tear due to aging inevitably leads to herniated discs. The discs begin to degenerate and grow weaker as the body grows older. The outer shell gets weaker which causes the disc to rupture during a sudden twisting movement or while applying force to do an activity.
  • Interestingly, research shows that men are more likely to suffer slipped discs than women. Understandably so! Because of their physique and stamina, men usually engage in strenuous activities and sports that put a lot of pressure on their lower backs. Also, the taller the men and women are, more are the chances of herniated discs.

So, these were the causes of slipped disc. Slipped disc is a health condition that troubles many people at some point in their lives. The discs are meant to act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae. Without them, your spinal column will just be one long and inflexible piece of bone that would make things such as bending simply impossible. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid smoking as these factors just precipitate the occurrence of a slipped disc.