The intervertebral discs are soft, rubbery pads that sit between adjacent vertebrae. They evenly distribute stress placed on the spine and help it flex. When one of the discs slips or herniates, it protrudes into the spinal canal and compresses the spinal nerve, which can cause pain, weakness, and numbness in the back and/or legs. The two most common reasons why this type of injury might occur are:
A Patient Has Degenerative Disc Disease
The intervertebral discs of aging peoples, especially those over 50, lose water content and shrink in what is known as degenerative disc disease. As discs shrink, the space between adjacent vertebrae decreases, which makes spine flexing, bending and twisting much harder. Because of this, the discs of patients with degenerative disc disease are more likely to slip than those of patients without the condition.
Illustration 1- A normal disc vs. a slipped or herniated one
A Patient Lifts an Object with Improper Form
When someone bends at the waist to lift a heavy object, they place a tremendous amount of pressure on the intervertebral discs of their lower back (lumbar spine), which may cause them to slip. Instead of bending at the waist, it’s recommended that people bend at the knees. Lifting in this manner allows heavy objects to be lifted using the large, strong muscles of the legs, buttocks, and upper back.
What to Do If You Have a Slipped Spinal Disc
Neurosurgeons are highly trained, skilled, and experienced medical professional that treat all spine injuries and conditions, including slipped discs. If you can relate to the information in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact our office to arrange an appointment with at one of our three California offices. We’re currently accepting new patients and will get you in ASAP.
Dr. Anthony Virella is a Board-Certified, Fellowship trained Neurological Spine Surgeon with advanced training in the management of complex spinal disorders. He attended medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is a graduate of the UCLA Neurosurgery Residency Program. Dr. Virella is a nationally recognized specialist in the field of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery. Virella Neurosurgery has offices in Agoura Hills, Valencia and Palmdale, CA. Contact us today!