by Alan Jordan
The discs that lie between the vertebral bodies in your spine are useful because they absorb shock and allow space for the nerves to come out of the spinal cord and supply the surrounding muscles, skin and other organs. They also offer stability and facilitate movement, so there is no wonder that when these discs fail, they can present many different symptoms that lead you to seek medical help.
Diagnosing Damage to Discs in the Spine
Disc disease can be multi segmental or occur at just one level and it is important that your doctor identifies whether your condition is being caused by one incident, a series of events such as repetitive strain or an inflammatory or systematic disease.
When you visit your doctor with symptoms of disc disease, he usually conducts a physical examination and will look at your family history and the onset and progress of your condition to help him reach a diagnosis. Your clinician will then discuss the treatments available to you, which can include drugs, exercise, acupuncture and manual therapy.
Different Types of Disc Damage
There are three main types of damage – degenerative disc disease, disc herniation and internal disc disruption.
Degenerative disc disease is linked to age and can be caused by poor posture and repeated trauma, while disc herniation occurs when the inner structure of the disc leaves the body of the disc because the outer casing fails. Internal disc disruption also involves the disruption of the disc’s outer casing, but there is no leakage involved as with herniation.
Treating and Managing Disc Disease
Your condition can be managed with a combination of manual therapy, acupuncture and exercise and your doctor will help you to choose the best care plan for you.
Sometimes, special referrals may be necessary to maximise the results of your treatments. For example, you may require drugs or injections to control inflammation and relieve pain. Surgical intervention is also available and we will discuss this in a forthcoming blog.
You can find more detailed information about the treatment of disc disease in our Broadgate Journal article and if you are suffering from symptoms yourself, you can book an appointment at Broadgate Spine & Joint Clinic by calling 020 7638 4330 today.