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Split disc & back pain

Updated April 17, 2017

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.

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.

Diagnosis

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

Symptoms of back pain from a split disc include tingling, weakness and pain in the lower back, legs, buttocks or feet.

Treatments

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.

Prevention

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.

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About the Author

Charlina Stewart has been a professional ghostwriter since 2004. Her articles have been published in the "Tyler Morning Telegraph," and on websites such as Education.com, Womb to Bloom, Suite 101, and eHow. Stewart has also had articles referenced in the Lamar University Early Child Development Center's Employee Handbook, and the Wilkes County Smart Start Newspaper Column.