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3 Ways to Prevent a Herniated Disc

One of the most common causes of back pain is a herniated disc. Between each vertebrae are intervertebral discs, flat, thin discs that serve as shock absorbers for your spine. While these intervertebral discs are incredibly sturdy, they can weaken with age and may herniate. 

A herniated disc means that a piece of the disc, which is like a gel, breaks out and gets pushed out into the spinal canal and pushes on a nerve. A herniated disc may cause pain, tingling, numbness and weakness from the lower back down to the legs. 

Fortunately, herniated discs are both preventable and treatable. Keep your back safe, strong and healthy with these 4 tips:

Strengthen Your Core

Developing a strong core, including abdominal muscles, may help prevent back pain by making you less prone to back injuries. Your core muscles are the anchors of your spine, so by strengthening them, you are reducing the strain on your back and helping relieve or prevent back pain.

The core muscles consist of abdominal muscles, muscles in your lower back, hamstrings, hip abductors, buttock muscles, hip flexors and quadriceps that all need to be working in sync to give you the protective mechanism you need to prevent injuries. 

Here are some beginner core exercises you can try:

  • Plank
  • Bridge
  • Toe Taps
  • Crunches

Stretch Regularly 

While many of us know how important regular exercise is, most of us are quick to neglect stretching. Having a flexible body will enable your spine to move safely. Stretching daily can be a great way to alleviate pain from a herniated disc. 

Even simple stretches, such as standing overhead reach and hanging, are great ways to stretch your back and realign your spinal discs.

Practice Good Posture

Sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day is how a good majority of Americans make a living. Unfortunately, just because you are sitting down doesn’t mean you are “taking a load off” of your back. In fact, sitting down for long periods of time can actually add pressure to your back and compress your spine. In addition, studies have shown that sitting down generates the highest amount of intradiscal pressure, which means your discs are more likely to get injured and less likely to recover from a disc injury.

When you practice proper posture, such as standing up straight or lying flat, you are placing the least amount of pressure on the discs between vertebrae. Here are a few ways you can improve your posture:

  • Keep your shoulders back and relaxed
  • Pull in your abdomen
  • Keep your feet hip-distance apart and flat on the floor
  • Balance your weight evenly on both feet

Contact Us

At The Spine Pro, we are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of care. Dr. Melamed takes a proactive, patient-centered perspective with a holistic approach based on integrative medicine. We can help you return to feeling like yourself again! Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.