The spinal column is an integral and indispensable part of human anatomy which facilitates a range of bodily movements. Spinal discs act as shock absorbers protecting the spinal column against damage and also holding the vertebrae that form the spine. These discs contain water that dehydrates with old age. When this happens, the outer part can rupture even when slight pressure is applied when performing normal activities such as playing golf or picking up a bag of groceries. The condition is known as herniated/slipped disc. The physicians who participate in the Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center referral line treat various types of neck and back conditions including herniated discs. Here are some things you can do to avoid getting a herniated disc.
Herniated disc symptoms range from muscle pain to numbness, however, diagnosing the problem can sometimes be difficult as many patients don’t experience any pain. Further, any delay in exploring reliable herniated disc treatment options can result in various complications, such as irregular bowel movement and progressive loss of sensation in the affected area. It is, therefore, advisable that individuals take the below proactive steps to avoid the health problem.
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1. Quit smoking
Discs, much like other body parts, require a constant oxygen supply and nutrients to perform their role. Nicotine not only cuts the oxygen supply to the discs but also releases toxins in the system that prevents the body from absorbing essential nutrients, therefore, speeding up the degeneration process of the intervertebral discs. Smokers are, therefore, at high risk of developing a herniated disc at an early age.
2. Follow a healthy diet
Obese patients are among the high-risk group of people as their bodies are not designed to support the additional weight. It is, therefore, imperative to avoid piling up extra pounds and supply the body with essential nutrients, such as proteins, minerals, calcium, and vitamins. Some food items that are great for a healthy spine and body weight include lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
3. Exercise regularly
Individuals, especially those who follow a sedentary lifestyle, need to follow a disciplined exercise regime that should include moderate activities such as walking, cycling, and swimming. These activities enhance the strength of muscles, ligaments, and tendons, without stressing the invertebrate and discs, and also help in maintaining a healthy body weight. Those who follow rigorous exercise regimes that include weight training should consult a certified therapist for help avoiding sudden movements that can dislocate the discs.
4. Maintain a proper posture
Maintaining the right posture is one of the most significant steps that individuals need to take to avoid a herniated disc. Your ears, shoulders, and hips should be aligned in a straight line while sitting. Additionally, make sure the head is up and pull in the abdomen. Using high heels can force the body to alter its natural posture, which is why avoiding them is advisable. Always use chairs with straight backs, arm rests, and adjustable backs that offer support to the spine. Last but not least, avoid driving for long intervals and if inevitable, take intermittent breaks.
5. Maintain proper posture when lifting heavy weights
Avoid lifting heavy weights by yourself frequently as repetitive motions can lead to a herniated disc. Use a helping hand and spread your feet according to your shoulder width to distribute the load evenly. Stand close to the object, bend at the knees and tighten the abdominal muscles in a way that resembles the alphabet S. Avoid stressing the waist muscles to maintain proper posture.
Doctors usually try non-surgical methods to treat herniated discs, and will prescribe pain relievers and recommend exercises that strengthen the muscles. If these options don’t work, and leg pain does not subside after 6 to 12 months of non-surgical treatment, the doctor may recommend herniated disc surgery.
Patients can follow the above steps to help avoid getting a herniated discs. Those already suffering from this health condition should consult an experienced spine surgeon participating in the Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Center referral line. The participating physicians specialize in treating a range of health complications that impact the spinal and joint functions. Contact us today at 1-888-608-4762 to learn more tips to improve your spinal health or fill out the form to request an appointment.