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Column Is Disc Herniation for Teens and Young Adults on the rise?


September 07, 2023

Disc herniation is a condition that occurs at all ages, and even though the most prevalent age range for herniation in younger patients is between 20 and 40 years old, it can set in as early as in one’s teens.

This article will deal with the particularities of disc herniation in young people.

The causes of disc herniation in young patients

Herniated discs can be caused by aging, the strain of sports and daily life, or simply because of genetic predisposition.

Age-related disc damage

As early as around age 16, the intervertebral disc may begin to be affected. When a crack occurs in the annulus fibrosus, the nucleus pulposus inside rapidly protrudes, resulting in a herniated disc.

When the nucleus pulposus protrudes little by little, the herniation is less noticeable, but still the amount of nucleus pulposus is gradually reduced, causing a deterioration in the disc function.

Sport-related disc damage

The most common cause of herniated discs in people in their teens and 20s is exercise and sports. Overly aggressive exercise puts great strain on the lower back and may begin to damage the disc, also resulting in a herniated disc.

Obesity and lack of exercise

Obesity and lack of exercise can also cause herniated discs. In children especially, obesity tends to be a cause of disc herniation because of the lack of exercise and lack of muscle strength caused by the underdevelopment of the muscles that support the lower back.

Predisposition to the disease

Some people are genetically more predisposed to developing a cracked disc than others, and disc herniation in a teenager may sometimes have hereditary causes.

Symptoms of disc herniation in young adults

If you have a herniated disc in the lower back, regardless of age, you will initially experience back pain and numbness, which may gradually worsen and radiate to the legs.

A characteristic of herniated discs in younger patients is that symptoms improve well over time. In most cases, the herniated disc protrudes into the epidural space, and after a certain period of time, a granuloma (i.e., a small nodule) forms around the herniated disc, and phagocytic cells migrate from the granulation tissue to eliminate the herniated area by phagocytosis. This phagocytic reaction often improves symptoms.

Treatment of disc herniation in young patients

Most of the time , surgery is not necessary for disc herniation in young people.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, rest may be necessary, but excessive rest can in turn lead to muscle weakness and compound back pain.

It is important to stay active in one’s daily activities, and to be aware of the postures and movements that increase back pain. If there are physical factors at play, it is also important to have a good understanding of the postures that avoid putting strain on the lower back on a daily basis.

Personalized rehabilitation exercises can also help improve symptoms of herniated discs. Different facilities may offer different instruction and different techniques, but it is recommended that you learn techniques that you will be able to perform at home on a daily basis.

Treatment at our clinic

Our clinic offers the Cellgel method, a treatment to repair damaged discs.

Our Cellgel method provides a fundamental treatment in which we inject a drug that fills in the cracks in the disc, which then becomes a gel and repairs the cracks. Its 2 main characteristics are that the volume of the disc is not reduced, and the drug remains in the disc as a gel-like implant after treatment, thus preserving the disc.

The Cellgel Method

Although the Cellgel method is not typically indicated for teenagers, we also offer specialized back pain rehabilitation and can treat various types of back pain in a wide range of age groups.

If you suffer from back pain or have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, please call us for a consultation at our clinic.

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