Risk factors are things that increase your risk of having a herniated disc. Some risk factors you can change, and some you can't.
Risk factors that you cannot change
Having a history of back injury, previous herniated disc, or back surgery.
Risk factors that you can change
Your job or other activities. These may include:
Long periods of sitting.
Lifting or pulling heavy objects.
Frequent bending or twisting of the back.
Heavy physical exertion.
Exposure to constant vibration
(such as driving).
Not exercising regularly, doing strenuous
exercise for a long time, or starting to exercise too strenuously after a long
period of inactivity.
Smoking. Nicotine and other toxins from
smoking can keep spinal discs from absorbing all the nutrients they need from
the blood, making disc injury more likely. Smoking also increases your
sensitivity to pain.
Being overweight. Carrying extra body weight (especially in the stomach area) may put additional
strain on the lower back, although this hasn't been proved. But being
overweight often also means being in poor physical condition, with weaker
muscles and less flexibility. These can lead to low back pain.