According to St. Vincent Hospital and Health Services, about 80 per cent of people will have back pain at some point in their lives. While there are a number of reasons for this type of pain, a split disc, more commonly referred to as a herniated disc, tops the list as one of the most common causes.
As people age, the discs in the spine start to lose fluid and become brittle. When this--coupled with everyday wear and tear--places pressure on the spine, fragile discs can split and cause back pain.
A doctor can determine if a split disc is the cause of back pain by evaluating a patient's medical history, doing a physical examination and doing X-rays. If the physician deems it necessary, he will also do a computerised axial tomography (CAT) scan, perform a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or inject contrast dye into the spinal column.
Symptoms of back pain from a split disc include tingling, weakness and pain in the lower back, legs, buttocks or feet.
Treatments for back pain caused by a split disc include exercise, over-the-counter pain relievers, oral anti-inflammatory medications, chiropractic care, heat, ice, cortisone shots and spinal cord stimulation. In rare instances, surgery may be necessary.
To prevent back pain from a split disc, exercise and stretch regularly to strengthen trunk muscles and maintain pliability in the spine; practice proper posture to prevent uneven pressure on the spine. When picking up heavy objects, adhere to proper lifting techniques to prevent back strain.