Are you concerned you are suffering from a slipped disc?
Interestingly the way we talk about disc problems has changed. An d the notion of a ‘slipped disc’ is now rather old fashioned.
The intervertebral disc is a cartilaginous, and fluid structure that sits between each vertebrae. Its function is to cushion the vertebral segments and to provide a shock absorbency to our spinal column. Allowing us to move, walk, run, jump, skip, without causing painful jarring and bone on bone compression through the spine.
The downside to this is that discs have to withstand a great deal of compressive force, and occasionally it becomes too much and the discs can weaken and can herniate. A disc herniation means that pressure through the disc causes some of the fluid to brake through to the cartilage outer layers, either to the extent of causing the cartilage to bulge out from between the vertebrae, or the fluid to burst through that cartilage. This can cause extreme pain, muscle spasm and nerve root compression of the local spinal nerve (for example the sciatic nerve), often resulting in shooting pain, and neurological pain ie pins and needles or numbness.
The disc has not slipped, it has herniated.
This kind of injury varies greatly in its severity. Sometimes symptoms are mild, and other times very acute. Some symptoms are mimicked by other conditions, such as sacro-iliac joint inflammation, muscle spasm, arthritic changes, or ligament strain. Herniated discs can be slow to settle, with often the neurological symptoms being the slowest to resolve. The pain is caused by pressure from inflammation, pain receptors and nerve root compression. In rare cases steroid injections can be helpful and very rarely surgery is necessary. A herniated disc often takes 6-9 months to truly settle down.
Osteopathic treatment can speed up the healing process, it can help to relieve the symptoms of muscle spasm, use decompression techniques to create space to reduce compressive force, and improve circulation to speed up the repair process. We cannot click a disc back into place, as we’ve explained the discs do not actually slip.
For further information on other conditions that can cause back pain please reed our blog on common causes of lower back pain.