CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Disk herniation is most often the result of a gradual, aging-related wear and tear called disk degeneration. As you age, your spinal disks lose some of their water content. That makes them less flexible and more prone to tearing or rupturing with even a minor strain or twist.
Most people can't pinpoint the exact cause of their herniated disk. Sometimes, using your back muscles instead of your leg and thigh muscles to lift large, heavy objects can lead to a herniated disk, as can twisting and turning while lifting. Rarely, a traumatic event such as a fall or a blow to the back can cause a herniated disk.
- Chad DA. Disorders of nerve roots and plexuses. In: Bradley WG, et al. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Butterworth Heinemann Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7506-7525-3..50117-5&isbn=978-0-7506-7525-3&sid=1063623544&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7506-7525-3..50117-5--cesec12&uniqId=221226396-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-7506-7525-3..50117-5--cesec12. Accessed Oct. 5, 2010.
- Herniated disk. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00334. Accessed Oct. 5, 2010.
- Herniated disc. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Herniated%20Disc.aspx. Accessed Oct. 5, 2010.
- Herniated lumbar disc. North American Spine Society. http://www.spine.org/Documents/herniated_lumbar_disc_2006.pdf. Accessed Oct. 6, 2010.
- Herniated cervical disc. North American Spine Society. http://www.spine.org/Documents/herniated_cervical_disc_2006.pdf. Accessed Oct. 6, 2010.
- JAMA patient page: Herniated lumbar disks. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2006;296:2512.
- Cauda equina syndrome. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Cauda%20Equina%20Syndrome.aspx. Accessed Oct. 6, 2010.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Oct. 6, 2010.
- Chou R, et al. Diagnosis ad treatment of low back pain: A joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2007;147:478.
- Robinson J, et al. Treatment of cervical radiculopathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 7, 2010.
- Levin K, et al. Lumbosacral radiculopathy: Prognosis and treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 7, 2010.
- Dworkin RH, et al. Pharmacologic management of neuropathic pain: Evidence-based recommendations. Pain. 2007;132:237.
- Shelerud RA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 13, 2010.