When someone is told that they may have a low back disc problem then to verify this further imaging is required. We often see in our practice that when people come in saying they have a disc issue, they don’t always have disc problems.

What are some of the symptoms that are associated with disc problems?

  • Low back pain
  • Leg pain/numbness
  • Foot pain/numbness
  • Tingling in the leg or foot
  • Loss of strength in the leg or foot
  • Stiffness in the low back
  • Shooting/burning pain in the leg or foot

What are some of the causes of disc problem?

  • Accidents, such as car, sport or work related
  • Falls
  • Heavy lifting, especially with twisting
  • Repetitive one sided movements
  • Changes in the normal spinal alignment causing uneven loading over time
  • Pregnancy
  • Weight gain
  • Lack of adequate movement
  • Excessive sitting combined with a lack of exercise

Many times we see disc problems in people due to the cumulative effects that occur over time. One car accident followed by a sporting accident, then a fall, combined with a job that involves one sided twisting. Uneven loading due to the mechanical insults of injuries and poor spinal health will result in degenerative disc disease with time. It is important to correct spinal alignment and focus on spinal health to minimise the stress on the spine. This is where Chiropractic BioPhysics can help to improve the biomechanics of the spine.

What is the job of the spinal discs? The disc has 3 functions:

1. Provide structural support

2. Enable trunk movement

3. Protect the nerves

The discs allow for some movement to occur in the spine. They are a cartilaginous structures in between the vertebrae. Many people see the discs as shock absorbers only, however, research tell us that the sagittal (side) curves act as the shock absorbers in the spine more than the discs.

The disc is made up of the central nucleus pulposus, which acts as a ball bearing, and that is surrounded by the annulus fibrosus.

The disc, vertebrae either side of the disc, ligaments and spinal facet joints make up the FUNCTIONAL SPINAL UNIT. If one area in this unit is affected, then all areas are affected.

Interestingly the disc’s blood supply ceases when we are in our late 20’s and it doesn’t have a nerve supply to give us pain. So what gives us pain?

When a disc is damaged the pain can come from:

  • nerves from the spinal cord going out and down the legs
  • inflammation and irritation to the ligaments, due to undue/uneven stress
  • changes to the joints alignment

What are the different types of disc problems?

The more localised herniations that cause tearing to the fibres of the disc can cause pressure on the spinal nerves and spinal cord and are generally more serious. The disc herniations cause more symptoms than the disc bulges. Many people with disc bulges are not aware they have a disc bulge.

Unsure if your spine is healthy? Check out our blog on the five movements a healthy spine should be able to do here

For a full disc assessment, speak directly with one of our  chiropractors, call us on 9329 1118 or email us at info@errolstchiro.com.au

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