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  • stephanieosteo

What happens when a disc 'slips'? Tips for preventing back injury.

Backpain, radiating pain into the legs ('sciatica'), weakness, tingling and numbness can all be part of a slipped disc.

Slipped disc, prolapsed disc, herniated disc all these terms describe the same unfortunate injury to the disc.

A herniated disc occurs when the outer portion of a spinal disc breaks down and the inner potion leaks out. This can then irritate or compress nearby nerves, causing radiating pain.

A spinal disc acts as a shock absorber between the vertebrae of the spine, and allows for movement in the spine. The durable outer portion of a disc, is called the annulus fibrosus and protects the soft inner portion of the disc, the nucleus pulposus.

Most of us do have one or more herniated discs, however they are not causing pain until they actually put pressure on something next to it, like a nerve.

This video is a great visual help in understanding what happens!


  • Watch your weight. Each kilo less reduces the pressure on the disc.

  • Exercise regularly. Amongst other health benefits it increases the core strength, which acts like a back support belt- which makes you less likely to use only your back when lifting

  • Keep lifting properly! We all know how to do it, we are just lazy at times. Try to avoid twisting at the same time as bending your spine as this is the most vulnerable movement for the discs!

  • Don't smoke. It makes the disc more brittle and less absorbent to nutrients.

  • Watch your posture. The more you slump, the worse. If you think you need help with your posture contact someone trained to improve posture.

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