Slipped Disc or Herniated Disc

Have I Slipped a Disc in My Back?

What is Discogenic Lower Back Pain?

People often report they have a slipped disc or herniated disc – what does it really mean??

There are a number of different structures in your back that can cause lower back pain.

One of the more common causes of lower back pain is the intervertebral disc.

The intervertebral disc sits in between two of your spinal bones, called vertebrae. The part of the vertebrae bone that joins to the disc is called the vertebral end plate. Discs are responsible for providing shock absorption throughout the spine and also separate each of the vertebrae in the spinal column.

The discs are made up of two main parts:

  1.       1. The inner jelly-like centre called the nucleus pulposus.
  2.       2. The outer fibrous ring called the annulus fibrosus.

The Disc can be injured but it doesn’t slip:

Lower back pain caused by the disc can arise from the disc itself being injured in two ways:

Small tears occurring in the outer fibrous ring (the annulus fibrosus).

The vertebral end plate fracturing, causing the contents of the inner centre of the disc to begin to move into the vertebral body.

The disc can also cause pain if it becomes herniated, or bulging. This is when the soft jelly-like centre protrudes through or pushes the outer fibrous ring outwards. Sometimes, the disc bulge can irritate the spinal nerve around it and can also cause leg pain.

The disc has a nerve supply around the rim and outer 1/3 of the annulus so when this gets irritated then the disc can become painful.

Will You Suffer Disc Related Low Back Pain?

Lower back pain will affect up to 85% of the general population at least once in their lives. A lot of the time, the actual specific cause of pain is unknown but most pain will settle with time and appropriate treatment.

Discogenic lower back pain is most commonly brought on by movements involving loaded bending forward and twisting actions (i.e. bending over and picking something heavy up to move it). The fibrous ring around the disc is at its most vulnerable in these circumstances, resulting in a common mechanism of injury.

The likelihood of having discogenic lower back is also increased if you have any of the following:

  1.       1. Older age
  2.       2. Physical job (e.g. labourer)
  3.       3. Sedentary occupation (e.g. desk job)
  4.       4. Poor posture and incorrect lifting techniques

Discogenic lower back pain can affect many different aspects of your life and stop you from working, completing everyday activities and restrict you in the activities that you enjoy.

The good news is that most cases of discogenic lower back pain can be resolved with a course of Physiotherapy treatment. It is important to get your lower back pain assessed and treated early to allow you to get back to the activities you enjoy and to prevent any future episodes occurring.

Symptoms of Discogenic Lower Back Pain:

Common symptoms of discogenic lower back pain (slipped disc or herniated disc) can include:

  1.       1. A deep, central dull ache in your lower back that is hard to locate specifically
  2.       2. Pain that may increase to a sharp pain with certain activities including:
  3.       3. Twisting your back
  4.       4. Bending forward
  5.       5. Coughing or sneezing
  6.       6. Additional pain in your legs – this can be a dull aching pain, or a sharp, shooting or burning pain (nerve pain)

How will your All Care Physiotherapist Help Your Lower Back Pain?

Your All Care Physiotherapist will ask you a series of questions about the symptoms, onset and behavior of your pain, your occupation and any history of lower back pain you may have. They will then complete a comprehensive assessment to determine the cause of your lower back pain.

Most discogenic lower back pain can be resolved with physiotherapy. It is very important that you follow your All Care Physiotherapy plan from start to finish, even once you are pain-free to prevent future episodes of lower back pain from occurring.

Treatment for discogenic lower back pain can include:

  1.       1. Advice and education on what your condition is and what you can do to get better faster
  2.       2. Postural correction
  3.       3. Soft tissue massage
  4.       4. Joint mobilisations
  5.       5. Gentle exercises to increase your range of movement
  6.       6. Core muscle strengthening program
  7.       7. Taping
  8.       8. Electrotherapy
  9.       9. Pilates
  10.       10. Workplace assessment

Your All Care Physiotherapist will then provide you with a treatment plan to address these issues. This will not only relieve your pain and allow you to return to the things you enjoy, but also prevent further groin pain in the future.

Where to Start with Back Pain:

Our advice to our clients we see with acute back pain is to see us for an appointment to have a review of of your back condition.

Common advice we give is to

  1.       1. keep active as much as possible with regular short walks
  2.       2. take pain relief and/or antinflammatories as prescribed
  3.       3. try not to worry as we know that most back pain will settle with treatment and time
  4.       4. start with the below exercises

Flexion 4 Point Kneeling:

  1.       1. Start on your hands and knees
  2.       2. Keep your low back straight and roll your pelvis back onto your heels
  3.       3. try not to worry as we know that most back pain will settle with treatment and time
  4.       4. click on image to see the video

Knee Rolls:

  1.       1. Lie on your back with your knees bent up.
  2.       2. Hands on the lower ribs
  3.       3. Roll your knees from side to side keeping your chest down
  4.       4. click on image to see the video

Do 10 to 15 repetitions as comfortably as possible.

To get on top of your Back Pain, call All Care Physiotherapy today on 1300 291 133 and get back to the activities you enjoy!

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