5 Risk Factors That Can Lead to a Herniated Disc

Many patients that we provide relief for at Berkower Pain and Spine Rehabilitation suffer from herniated disks, which causes them serious pain and discomfort. We take pride in providing relief for herniated discs and instructions on how to avoid them in the future.

What’s a herniated disk?

The bones that make up your spine are supported and cushioned by little discs. These discs act as shock absorbers for your back and are found between each individual vertebrae. Your discs have a center that is soft and jelly-like (known as the nucleus), which is shrouded in a tough exterior layer (known as the annulus). A disc becomes herniated when the outside layer of the disc tears or ruptures, allowing a portion of the inside of the disc to slip or poke out.

A herniated disc can occur in any part of your spine. You may also hear herniated discs referred to as “slipped” or “ruptured” discs.

Five risk factors that can lead to a herniated disc

While there are many risk factors that can lead to a herniated disc, the following are a few of the most common. These factors include:

Excess weight

Carrying excess weight or being obese can place extreme stress on your vertebrae and discs, making you more prone to experiencing a herniated disc. 


Experts believe that the nicotine in cigarettes and other smokable tobacco products inhibit the blood flow to your spinal discs. This lack of blood flow increases the chances that your dics will degenerate, and it will slow the healing process down.

Genetics and family history

It’s possible that you can be predisposed to herniated disc issues through certain genetic traits you may have inherited.


If your line of work is one that involves heavy, strenuous physical activity on a regular basis, you’ll be at a higher risk of suffering from a herniated disc.


The older you get, the more likely you are to suffer from a herniated disc. You’re typically at the highest risk of suffering from a herniated disc between the ages of 35 - 50. 

It’s important to recognize that it’s possible for anyone, at any age, to suffer from a herniated disc for many different reasons. On rare occasions, a disc can herniate without any obvious or known reason.

If you’re suffering from back pain and think it could be associated with a slipped disc, or if you’re concerned about slipping a disc in the future, call us today or schedule an appointment online for a consultation. 

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