Causes of a slipped disc 

A slipped disc occurs when the circle of connective tissue surrounding the disc breaks down. This allows the soft, gel-like part of the disc to swell and protrude out.

It is not always clear what causes the connective tissue to break down. However, slipped discs are often the result of increasing age.

As you get older, your spinal discs start to lose their water content. This makes them less flexible and more likely to split.

There are a number of other factors that can put increased pressure and strain on your spine. These include:

  • bending awkwardly
  • jobs that involve heavy or awkward lifting
  • jobs that involve lots of sitting, particularly driving
  • smoking
  • being overweight or obese
  • weightbearing sports, such as weightlifting
  • a traumatic injury to your back, such as a fall or car accident

Situations such as these can weaken the disc tissue and can sometimes lead to a slipped disc.

Page last reviewed: 01/08/2014

Next review due: 01/11/2016