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How Does a Herniated Disc Affect Your Height? 

May 30

We all know that as we become older, our bodies shrink. Even Houston chiropractors are aware of this. That slight shrinkage is caused by the same thing when we have a herniated disc. So while becoming older or suffering from a herniated disc will not significantly alter your height, it will lead you to shrink.


Although a herniated disc can make you shorter, it is rarely apparent. When a disc bulges or herniates, it becomes compressed, which causes your spine to compress somewhat. You may lose a small amount of height due to this, usually less than an eighth of an inch.


Continue reading to learn more about how the health of your spinal discs can affect your height.


The Spine: Anatomy and Function

It's crucial to understand how herniated discs act in the spine to comprehend how they can cause height loss. The bones of the spine, called vertebrae, make up your spine. Fluid-filled, gel-like discs sit between the vertebrae. Intervertebral discs aid in absorbing impacts, allow for smooth and painless movement, and prevent the spine's bones from grinding against one other.


These discs have no veins running through them. They receive nutrition by osmosis instead. Healthy discs are tall, durable, and assist you in standing at maximum height. But what happens if a disc is damaged?


Disc Health and Height Are Correlated

The spinal discs account for around a quarter of the length of your spine. You can picture what would happen if those CDs vanished overnight. You'd lose a substantial amount of height. You'd also be in excruciating pain. Fortunately, you won't lose your Discs overnight.


On the other hand, a herniated disc is possible (or more than one). In most circumstances, you will lose some height, but not enough to be apparent. You're more likely to lose height if you have many disc herniations. And the more discomfort you may experience.


We can't provide you with hard facts because disc height varies by location in the spine and by a person. If you do have a disc herniation, though, you may not be aware of it because not all of them cause pain. If you have a herniated disc, your height should be a secondary consideration. Because a herniated disc is unlikely to heal on its own, pain management and resolving the condition (or issues) that caused the herniation should be your top priorities.


How Much Height Do You Lose After a Herniated Spinal Disc?

Most disc herniations cause only minor height loss — usually less than an eighth of an inch at most. The more disc herniations or bulges you have, though, the more height you'll lose, at least temporarily.


Degenerative disc disease and illnesses like osteoporosis, which can cause significant height loss due to changes in bone density and disc health, mainly in elderly persons, cause the most severe loss of height.


Taking appropriate care of your spine can assist you in avoiding losing height due to disc herniations. This entails leading a healthy lifestyle, looking after your back, and visiting a chiropractor if you have a herniated disc.


Is it true that spinal fusion makes you shorter?


Let's talk about spinal fusion while we're on the subject of losing height. Children with severe scoliosis are the most likely candidates for this procedure. While there is some evidence that spinal fusion can cause slight height loss, this is not a regular occurrence.


After reaching adulthood, one study compared girls who had a spinal fusion to those treated with a brace and found a minimal change in overall height between the two groups. Adults who have spinal fusion surgery may lose some height, but it is usually insignificant. Some spinal procedures can even lead to small height increases!


While a herniated disc can shorten your stature, this should not be your primary concern. People in your immediate vicinity are unlikely to notice. You can also help (to some extent) prevent extreme height reduction in your golden years if you take proper care of your spine.


Here at Peak Potential Family Chiropractic - Houston Heights, we always want what's best for our patients. So contact us today to book an appointment, and we'll help you on your path to optimal spine health!