The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae which are separated by discs which act as shock absorbers. The discs are made of tough cartilage with a soft jelly-like substance in the centre to allow for flexibility and movement in the spine. The disc can be injured in a number of ways and there are many terms used to describe this including disc bulge, annular tear, disc herniation or disc prolapse. Quite often, disc injuries are caused by repetitive minor trauma rather than a single major incident.
There are many different types of disc injury and they can vary from person to person in terms of severity of symptoms. A disc injury in some cases may push on to the spinal nerves causing back or neck pain as well as shooting pain into the limb, with tingling, numbness or weakness of the limb. In other cases, a disc injury may result in little to no pain. Given the wide variation in the degree and severity of disc injuries, an accurate diagnosis is essential for proper management or referral to another health professional if warranted.
The chiropractors at Southern Region Chiropractic Mittagong and Goulburn first focus on diagnosing the extent of a patient’s disc injury in order to determine the best evidence-based treatment approach. This diagnosis is made after the chiropractor has taken a detailed history and performed a thorough examination. Our chiropractors are extensively trained in the assessment and diagnosis of such conditions and may refer a patient to their GP for additional imaging if necessary.
Treatment may include joint mobilisation or manipulation, soft tissue release, dry needling, advice on pain relieving methods, ergonomic and activity modification advice, and the prescription of home exercises. The use of these techniques varies depending on the patient’s age, health and their personal preferences.