In our backs we have 23 spinal discs which separate the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers. These occasionally can place pressure on the spinal cord nerves leading to back pain, this is know as a slipped disc.
Back or neck pain is a serious injury for most, and it is understandable that a slipped disc worries many people. However, those who suffer from a slipped sic may not know all they need about the injury.
So, here are three major misconceptions about suffering from a slipped disc.
- Discs actually slip
Despite its name, the discs don’t actually ‘slip’ out of place. In fact, the injury is caused when the outer layer of a disc, which protects the gel-like interior, splits and allows the gel to spill and push against nerves in the back.
There are four different stages to this:
- Degeneration: when the gel moves from the centre to the edges of the disc.
- Protrusion: when the outer layer bulges, possibly pressing against nerves.
- Extrusion: when some gel leaks out, but most stays in the disc.
- Sequestration: when the majority of the gel spills out.
- Slipped discs require spinal surgery
Just the idea of having spinal surgery would terrify most and it is only used as an extreme last resort.
The majority of cases will heal over time, however other processes can be used to speed up the recovery process such as medication, physical therapy or the use of hot/cold therapy.
- Slipped discs cause excruciating pain
Slipped discs can be painful, however this is not always true. The amount of pain which you suffer is dependant on which nerves are being pressed against.
The neck, limbs, hips and shoulders are the areas most commonly affected, and pain can be usually felt in the lower back. As well as pain, a person may experience muscle weakness, numbness or a tingling sensation in the affected areas.
But it is also possible to be suffering from a slipped disc and experience no pain at all.