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There is a lot of misconception about spinal discs. In 1934 a famous study showed the disc could swell onto nerve in the lumbar spine. Since then all sorts of therapies have been aimed at the disc. Discs have become so famous and blamed for so much pain that people often think of them in isolation.

Here are some interesting facts on discs

1. The outer layers of discs have a nerve supply, whilst the inner layers do not. The nerve supply of the disc is not as rich as the nerve supply to surrounding ligaments, muscles and bones.

2. An injured disc may not cause instant pain. A ‘slow pain’ 8 to 12 hours after the injury occurs as the disc slowly inflames. So you may feel the pain and stiffness the day after the injury.

3. Discs degenerate naturally and is normally a part of the aging process. It does not have to lead to a pain experience. At least 30% of people who have no back pain have bulging discs into the spinal canal and some are quite large.

4. Discs never slip. They age, bulge, sometimes herniate and sometimes squeeze onto a nerve or release chemicals that irritate a nerve. Despite how dramatic this sounds it does not always lead to pain.

5. Discs heal slowly, but are always rough around the edges. Age related changes are often indistinguishable from injury changes.

6. Discs, spinal joints and nerves are not delicate structures. Watch a person play sport and lift heavy weights with huge forces that cause no damage.

So don’t be so quick to blame the poor disc for the back pain that you are having. Make sure you get your physio to do a full musculoskeletal assessment so that you can fix your back as quickly as possible.

Yours in Good Health

Mark Collins

 

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