Intervertebral discs are the strong layers of soft tissue that lie between our vertebrae in the spine to act as shock absorbers due to weight bearing and forces that our spines are subjected to. When we rotate our backs, injuries can occur to the discs. There can be tears, disc herniation or disc prolapse. The risk of injury to the discs is enhanced if we rotate whilst in a flexed position so lifting and twisting movements for example digging the garden, putting the baby in the car or doing unsafe exercises.
A=normal disc. B=internal disc disruption. C=disc herniation. D=disc herniation with prolapse.
The diagnosis of disc disease can be made from the case history and examination findings but the actual location and extent of disc disease would be clarified from a MRI scan.
Osteopathy can provide disc treatment by reducing the pain associated with disc disease. It will aid a reduction of inflammation and muscle spasm to the surrounding area, and improving function to the vertebrae above and below the affected region. Osteopathic treatment for disc disease uses a combination of soft tissue massage, manipulation to surrounding areas and traction to the affected part of the spine whilst you are in a position of greatest comfort. Disc injuries and in particular herniated disc treatment usually takes approximately 6 weeks to heal so patience and compliance with treatment and exercises is very important. Disc prolapses can take longer and may require surgery.
The cause of disc disease would also need to be established so advice can be given on not repeating the same injury in the future. This may be related to work, recreational or sporting activities for example.