You should get a lifetime out of your discs, but factors such as your movement patterns, your trunk stiffness and your DNA can have a profound impact on your disc health. Add in sitting all day, poor nutrition, and smoking and it’s a recipe for disaster.
When it comes to the genetic factors involved in disc degeneration, the CILP gene is involved in maintaining the cartilage structure within your vertebral discs. Disc degeneration happens naturally with aging, although certain variants of this gene are associated with protection from lumbar disc degeneration and spinal soft tissue injury.
If you have a greater risk of disc degeneration, you’ll want to do all you can to prolong your disc integrity.
You may want to make strategic decisions about the types of movements that you do that will load the discs differently. Sumo pulling and front squatting are upright torso movements that help to eliminate some of the shear forces on your back. Shear or translation forces are harder on your back, as any time that there is movement under load on your spine it can influence wear and tear.
That said, ensure that you focus on your general spine health and other factors, such as mobility within your hips, fascia and supporting musculature. Try not to sit between sets, innings, or points. And if you can, minimize sitting in your day-to-day life.
Find out which variant of the CILP gene you have and get more expert advice and recommendations with the Optimum Movement and Recovery report.