The Disc Expert

Common Questions and answers

Understanding your back is paramount to reducing your pain. The aim here is to give you the information you need to make a sensible decision on treatment / surgery and recovery. The most common term we hear is “I’ve put my disc out” and it conjures up a picture of a squashy disc literally being out of alignment and something that can be pushed back in again. Unfortunately, it is not like that. In real life , a disc, is very strong on the outside and more slimy in the middle (think of a industrial rubber doughnut with jam in ). It will commonly react in three ways.

Either it bulges slightly, often called an annular strain or it can proplase / herniate, which is when the squishy slimy bit comes out from the middle . Lastly, degenerative discs can lose height and shock absorbency and put weight on other areas, All the above can cause intense pain, or no pain at all. There are a host of other factors that come into play.

Oddly enough research shows your understanding is part if what determines your pain.

Bulging discs can cause as much pain as a fully prolapsed one and don’t be fooled or judge by pain alone. The body is a complex receptor and multiple inputs have to occur to feel pain at all.

Why does it hurt when I bend forward?

Nearly all discs are injured at the posterior part of them (the back bit ), and so often flexion (bending forward) hurts. This makes sense as if you squeeze the front of a donought the jam travels towards the back and pushes out.

Why Does it Hurt when I wake up?

Nearly all discs swell at night and hence why you can get more pain when you wake up than when you go to bed.

Why Does it hurt down my Leg?

Leg pain is either referred or direct pain. Often the bit that bulges causes some chemicals to irritate the nerve and it fires causing pain down the leg (Sciatica), sometimes the bulge is so big that it directly pushes on it and does the same, Don’t worry and ask your osteopath for advice.