What are the Causes of a Herniated Disc?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2018
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Some of the most common causes of a herniated disc include degeneration due to age, sudden violent movements, and sporting activities. Lifting heavy objects incorrectly is also likely to cause an injury. Other potential causes of a herniated disc include degenerative diseases, a sedentary lifestyle, and poor posture. Many people who suffer from a back injury will have more than one of these issues, making them highly susceptible to a herniated disc.

Of all the potential causes of a herniated disc, general wear and tear as a person ages is probably the most common. Over time, the discs in the back undergo a lot of strain which can cause them to lose flexibility. The less flexible a disc, the more likely it is to become herniated during everyday activities. When a herniated disc occurs, the fluid in it is forced out, which causes a bulge in the disc or even a rupture.

There are a number of movements which can cause a herniated disc. The simple act of twisting the spine suddenly or violently sneezing can cause a disc to herniate. Whether or not damage will occur depends on how much the disc has degenerated over time. Any action that puts an abrupt and large amount of force through the back has the potential to cause a disc injury.


Sports and heavy lifting are both potential causes of a herniated disc. Any physical fitness activity that requires a lot of twisting of the back may increase the chance of a herniated disc, especially if a person takes part in the activity regularly. Heavy lifting puts a large amount of pressure on the back, particularly if the person doesn’t bend from the knees.

Aside from sudden movements, a herniated disc may also be caused by a degenerative disease. If a person suffers from a disorder that affects the discs, the chance of an injury increases dramatically. A combination of a degenerative disease and a sudden movement will often cause a herniated disc.

There are a large number of other potential causes of a herniated disc. Some of these include weak back muscles, incorrect posture, working at a desk all day, and sudden traumas such as a car crash. In general, a person who is fit and exercises regularly is much less likely to injure his or her back. Those who live a sedentary lifestyle will often have tight or weak muscles which increases the chance of an injury.



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