If you are suffering from a spinal disc problem, it’s likely you can definitely feel it!
Spinal disc problems can often be very painful and restricting in your movement.
What causes a disc injury?
Your spine is made up of bones called vertebrae that are separated by spinal discs. These discs consist of a very tough outer layer of cartilage with a soft, jelly-like fluid in the middle, acting like shock absorbers for the spine.
Spinal discs are what allow flexibility and motion in the spine. The discs also allow an exit and entry point for spinal nerves from the spinal cord. These spinal nerves pass the discs and allow messages to be carried from the brain to the body and the body to the brain. When disc injuries occur, the disc material itself can impact and press on the spinal nerves.
The main cause of disc injury in the spine is inappropriate bending, twisting or lifting. These minor episodes usually involve repetitive poor posture, poor lifting or poor bending techniques. It is important to realise that discs do not go from being perfectly healthy to bulging or herniating overnight. It is usually the end result of a poorly functioning spine in general and poorly functioning vertebrae in particular. These vertebrae that are misaligned or not moving as they should increases pressure on the discs over time, until a small movement such as standing up or bending finally causes the disc to fail.
What type of disc injuries are there?
There are many different terms used to describe spinal disc injuries. Some of the most common terms include a herniated disc, a slipped disc, a bulging disc or a pinched nerve. A variety of additional terms such as ruptured disc, torn disc, collapsed disc, disc protrusion, disc disease, and spondylosis can add even more confusion. Most of these terms are different names relating to the same type of disc related problem.
Symptoms of Disc Injury?
Disc injuries can vary in the type and severity of their symptoms. A disc herniation for example, can push directly onto nerves in the spine, resulting in a lot of pain and very limited movement. On the other hand, people can have disc bulges and experience little to no pain, or referred pain elsewhere in the body. For this reason, it is important to be thoroughly assessed by a Chiropractor to determine the underlying cause.
The most severe symptoms occur when disc material directly puts pressure on spinal nerves. These symptoms can include sharp radiating pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in muscles. The most common discs to fail and impact the surrounding nerve roots are the L5/S1 and L4/5 discs at the bottom of the spine in the lower back. When these discs impact their corresponding nerve roots, severe lower back pain can often result. Further symptoms can also develop down into the buttocks, thighs, legs and feet. Disc injuries are also often the cause of sharp radiating pain down the back of the legs, commonly referred to as sciatica.