The Bases Are Loaded

Sports Medicine

Athletes & Spinal Injuries

Written By: thebasesareloaded - • •

If you’re an athlete, than you are far more likely to experience a debilitating back injury in your lifetime than most people. Of those common back injuries, a herniated disc (or ruptured disc) is the most likely form that you will encounter. What exactly is a herniated disc, and how does it occur?

Herniated & Ruptured Discs

A herniated disc, also called a ruptured or slipped disc, is a disorder that involves the cushion like ‘discs’ in-between the vertebrae. The purpose of each one of these discs is simple, it serves as a cushion for each vertebrae – allowing for your spine to flexible. When one of these discs is herniated, it bulges (or ruptures) from its proper place and protrudes from the spine – pressing on any nearby nerves, causing a significant amount of pain.

A number of different things can cause a herniated disc. These causes include falling, physical accidents, repeatedly straining your back, suddenly straining your back by lifting or twisting in a violent fashion, aging (degeneration of a disc), and in general in specific injury can cause this. Common symptoms include the inability to straighten the back without severe pain, sudden or gradual aching and pain in the back, numbness or tingling in the arms, legs, or feet, muscle weakness, bladder problems, and the list continues.

As an athlete, the best way to prevent the rupture or herniation of a disc to maintain proper posture and technique while performing in a sport, and to make sure that you give your body and muscles ample time to warm it – this includes properly stretching, warming, and cooling exercises before and after each sports related event or activity. Of course, you can’t rule out the possibility of the injury – especially if the sport in question is a high-impact contact sport.

Treatment of Herniated Discs

There are many treatment options for herniated and ruptured discs, and the best option is really going to depend on the severity of the injury. Many times, proper rest and taking it easy can give your body what it needs to repair the damage. Other times, you will have to rely on the help from a spine surgeon for the best treatment.  We encourage you to research your options, weight the risks, and determine what the best solution for you and your specific injury is.  Although surgical procecures, such as microdiscectomy, for treating a herniated disc are minimally invasive, there are still associated risks with any surgical procedure.

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