Do I have a "slipped disc"?
We commonly hear someone tell us they have "slipped a disc" in their back, and if we suffer severe back pain it makes us wonder if it might be one of these so-called slipped discs?
The discs are cartilage structures between the vertebrae in our spine, and while they are commonly injured, they don't "slip". At Willoughby Chiropractic Centre we believe that it is important for you the patient to understand how and why injuries happen, so you can play an active role in your recovery, and prevent re-aggravation of an existing injury. Our goal is always to explain things in an easily understood way (without using medical and anatomical language that is difficult to take in), but at the same time we don't want to "dumb it down", we want to give you an accurate account of the extent of the injury and the expected time of recovery.
Lumbar disc injuries account for at least 40% of low back pain. Pain can begin after seemingly trivial movements. These type of injuries are often recurrent when not addressed properly. Injuries to the interverebral discs can cause back pain, but can all cause referred or radiating pain into the leg. As always the correct diagnosis is the important first step in treating your injury. Once we know what is causing your pain, an effective plan can be put together to get you on your way to a speedy recovery. The majority of disc injuries can be treated conservatively, that is with manual therapy (massage, mobilisation, manipulation) and exercise, along with rest from certain activities when required. Most can be diagnosed without imaging such as x-ray or MRI, and in the small number of cases that require imaging, we can refer you on for this service.
So what has happened if I don't have a slipped disc?
Discs can suffer a variety of injuries including a herniation (bulge, protrusion or extrusion) or an annular tear. It also may not be your disc that has been injured. There are multiple structures in and around our spine which can be injured and cause us pain, including the facet joints, and muscles. The best course of action is to be assessed by a health professional, to find out the correct diagnosis.