Herniated Disc - Part 2: What Causes A Herniated Disc?


This is Part Two in our series about Herniated Discs. If you missed Part One, Click Here!

In Part One we discussed just what a Herniated Disc is exactly. For a quick refresher: a Herniated Disc occurs when the outside of the disc ruptures, and the jelly-like substance inside the disc, called the nucleus, leaks out. We also reviewed some basic anatomy involving the spine so that you could better know just how a disc works as a shock absorber for the vertebrae. Now that you know what a Herniated Disc actually is, it is time to learn what causes them!

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What causes Herniated Discs?

  • The main and most common cause of Herniated Discs is just a result of the aging process.

back_painsdjvThe nucleus of the disc is mostly made up of water, and as you get older some of that water is lost. This is what we mean when we say a disc is dehydrated. When the disc becomes dehydrated it leaves it more prone to rupture from normal day-to-day activities. When the disc loses water it can also cause a decrease in flexibility or cause it to become smaller, both of which can lead to a tear in the side of the disc.

  • The second most common cause of a Herniated Disc is excess or repetitive strain on your back.

The primary way that excess strain is placed on the muscles in your back is by lifting improperly with your back instead of your knees, or by moving and twisting your back in awkward ways. Repetitive strain is most often caused by having to constantly lift heavy objects or by bending frequently. These actions cause increased wear and tear of the disc and greatly increase the chances of a rupture.

  • The third most common way people suffer a Herniated Disc is with trauma.

Suffering a powerful or sudden blow to your back can cause a disc to slip and cause a rupture. This is most commonly seen in a car accident or a fall. Although this is a far less common cause than aging, it is often more severe.

Aside from those three most common causes, there are several risk factors that can increase your risk of suffering a Herniated Disc. These include:

  • Age and Gender: Herniated Discs most commonly affect men who are between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.
  • Genetics: Some people may have a hereditary condition that increases the risk of developing a Herniated Disc.
  • Smoking: Reduced oxygen supply to your discs from smoking can make them weaker and more succeptible to rupture.
  • Weight: Excess weight puts more strain on your spine, which can greatly weaken the discs and cause a tear.

Remember, this is just the second part in our series about Herniated Discs. Part 3 will continue our discussion, including what the symptoms of Herniated Discs are! My clinical experience is that the more you understand your problem, the more likely you are to eliminate it.


At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate people as much as possible about their back, neck, and sciatica pain, because it has been proven that the more people know about their pain the more likely they will be to get rid of it!

Our 9 Step Solution specializes in treating the causes of back pain and sciatica. Are you ready to put an end to your pain? Schedule a Free Consultation by calling us at 844-408-0462 or click here!


Disclaimer: The content on this web site is for information purposes only and should never be used as the basis for diagnosis or treatment. We always recommend consulting a qualified professional before embarking on any form of self treatment or rehabilitation.

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