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Can You Herniate the Same Disc Twice?

If you have had a herniated spinal disc in the past, you may wonder if you can herniate the same disc twice. Unfortunately, once you have herniated a disc, it is possible to herniate it a second time. If you are looking for ways to minimize your risk of a second herniation, the following information may be helpful.

Ways to Avoid Herniating the Same Spinal Disc

If you have recently recovered from a herniated spinal disc, it is essential to slowly ease back into physical activity. A herniated disc is often the result of too much strain on the spine. Therefore, putting additional pressure on your back before it has fully healed may lead to a second herniation. The best way to avoid this is to take some time to rest and allow your spine to heal entirely before returning to your normal physical activity level. Other ways to prevent re-herniating a spinal disc include:

Using the Correct Lifting Technique

If you regularly lift heavy objects, it is crucial to use the correct technique. This means using your legs to lift rather than your back. Additionally, avoid twisting your spine when lifting as this may also put a strain on your discs and lead to a herniation. Before you start lifting anything heavy, consult with your doctor to ensure that your back is strong enough to handle the strain.

Maintaining Optimal Weight

Being overweight or obese puts additional strain on your spine and makes you more likely to herniate a spinal disc. If you are carrying around extra weight, work on losing it gradually through diet and exercise. This will help reduce the strain on your spine and lower your risk of re-herniating a disc. As always, consult with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise regimen. Going to a physical therapist for help with exercises that will not aggravate your back is also a good idea. 

Focusing On Good Posture

Having good posture reduces stress on your back and helps you avoid reinjuring a disc. Make sure to sit up straight and avoid slouching. When standing, keep your shoulders back, and your stomach pulled in. If you work a desk job, make sure your computer screen is at eye level to avoid strain on your neck and back. You may also want to consider investing in an ergonomic chair to further reduce stress on your spine. Taking frequent breaks to walk around and stretch your back is also important when sitting for long periods of time.

Stretching Often

In addition to taking breaks throughout the day to stretch, you should also make a point to stretch regularly. This will help keep your muscles and spine flexible, which in turn helps reduce your risk of injuring your back. Yoga is a great way to stretch your back muscles and improve your posture. There are also many specific stretches that target the back and may help reduce your risk of re-herniating a disc. If you are recovering from a herniated disc, stretch lightly before slowly increasing the intensity of your stretch as your back continues to heal.

Exercising Daily

Staying stagnant is one of the worst things you may do for a herniated disc. Spinal discs need movement to stay healthy. Exercising for just 30 minutes a day may improve blood flow to your discs and reduce your risk of re-herniating a disc. Walking, swimming, and biking are all great exercises for people with a herniated disc as they are low-impact. However, your doctor can help you develop an exercise routine that is right for you.

Quitting Smoking

Smoking may be detrimental to your overall spine health. It has been linked to decreased blood flow to the discs, which may make them more susceptible to injury. Smoking may also play a role in increasing the risk of disc degeneration. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your spine health. Fortunately, there are several resources available to help you quit smoking for good. Discuss your options with your doctor.

Achieve Optimal Spine Health with The Spine Pro

While there is no guarantee that you will never herniate the same disc twice, following these tips may reduce your risk. Whether you think you may have recently herniated a disc or are dealing with a re-herniation, contact Dr. Melamed at The Spine Pro for an evaluation. He can help you determine the best course of treatment to get you back on the road to recovery. Through award-winning and nationally-renowned care, Dr. Melamed can develop a treatment plan specifically tailored to your needs.