Can anything be done to prevent a herniated disc?

It is not always possible to prevent a herniated disc, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk:

  • Use proper lifting techniques. Do not bend at the waist. Bend your knees while keeping your back straight and use your strong leg muscles to help you support the load.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts pressure on the lower back.
  • Practice good posture when walking, sitting, standing, and sleeping. For example, stand up straight with your shoulders back, abdomen in, and the small of your back flat. Sit with your feet flat on the floor or elevated. Sleep on a firm mattress, and sleep on your side, not your stomach.
  • Stretch often when sitting for long periods of time.
  • Do not wear high-heeled shoes.
  • Exercise regularly to keep the muscles of your back, legs, and stomach strong. Engage in regular aerobic exercise. Try to balance flexibility with strengthening in a regular exercise program.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/22/2014.

References

  • North American Spine Society. Herniated Cervical Disc Accessed 8/18/2014.
  • North American Spine Society. Herniated Lumbar Disc Accessed 8/18/2014.
  • American Academy of Family Physicians. Herniated Disk Accessed 8/18/2014.
  • Frohna WJ, Della-Giustina D. Chapter 276. Neck and Back Pain. In: Tintinalli JE, Stapczynski J, Ma O, Cline DM, Cydulka RK, Meckler GD, T. eds. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 7e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2011. library.ccf.org Accessed 8/18/2014.

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