(HealthDay News) -- The spine is comprised of a series of hard bones called vertebrae. Sandwiched between them are soft, spongy pads called disks, which allows the spinal column to bend.

But if a disk ruptures (herniates) and the center pushes through the outer edge toward the spinal canal, it can put pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain and discomfort.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers these suggestions to help prevent a herniated disk:

  • Avoid lifting with your back. Lift with your leg muscles instead, holding the object close to you.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Shed excess weight, which can strain the back.
  • Avoid strenuous activities that are repetitive in nature.