How Can a Herniated Disc Be Prevented?

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Ways to prevent a herniated disc include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising on a regular basis, quitting smoking and using proper posture, according to WebMD. When lifting a heavy object, using the proper lifting technique helps prevent a herniated disc.

Excess weight puts pressure on the body, including the spine, notes Mayo Clinic. This added pressure increases the risk of a herniated disc. Exercise not only helps an individual lose weight to reduce pressure on the spine, it also helps strengthen the trunk muscles. The spine gets stability and support from strong trunk muscles for a lower risk of herniated discs.

Correct posture takes pressure off the spine and discs. Poor posture, especially after a back injury or strain, can worsen back problems. When walking, a straight line from ears to shoulders to hips is considered good posture. A support pillow or rolled towel in the curve of the spine provides posture assistance while sitting. Regular stretching during long periods of sitting and skipping high heels can also help, suggests Cleveland Clinic.

When lifting, proper posture means squatting with a wide base and lifting slowly straight up. Keeping the object close to the body also helps prevent a back injury.

The nicotine in cigarettes has a damaging effect on discs, increasing the chance of a herniated disc, states WebMD. The discs are unable to absorb the necessary nutrients to stay healthy, causing them to turn dry and brittle.