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Wear and tear, also called disc degeneration, is the usual cause of a herniated disc. As we age, the discs in our spine lose some of the fluid that helps them stay flexible. The outer layer of the discs can form tiny tears or cracks. The thick gel inside the disc may be forced out through those cracks and cause the disc to bulge or break open.
A herniated disc can also happen when you injure your back. Injury can occur from:
A sudden, heavy strain or increased pressure to the lower back. Sometimes a sudden twisting movement or even a sneeze will force some of the material out.
Activities that are done over and over again that may stress the lower back. Examples include poor lifting habits, being exposed to vibration for a long time, and sports-related injuries.
The Stanford Medicine Online Second Opinion program offers you easy access to our world-class doctors. It’s all done remotely and you don’t have to visit our hospital or one of our clinics for this service. You don’t even need to leave home!