Disc Pain

spinal disc herniation

TRUE OR FALSE? ‘A slipped disc means that the disc has slipped out of my spine’ This is false. A ‘slipped disc’, also known as a disc herniation or disc prolapse, is caused by the protrusion of the nucleus pulposus through the annular fibres, potentially causing compression on spinal nerves. Disc Anatomy In the spine, a disc sits between each pair of vertebrae. Each disc is made up of: Nucleus pulposus – the central portion with a gel-like structure made up of a large water content Fibrous annulus – the outer portion made up of strong collagen fibres

Function of the intervertebral disc

  • Act as a joint between 2 vertebrae
  • Improve stability in the spine
  • Act like shock absorbers to cushion and distribute the stress caused by impact from daily activities

Stages of disc herniation

spinal disc herniation stages


Some common causes can be:

  • Chronic overloading – suddenly lifting something that is very heavy or lifting smaller items repetitively
  • Trauma, accident or injury
  • Asymmetrical loading and twisting. Those that do a lot of repetitive work with twisting and bending may be more susceptible
  • Poor posture

Signs and symptoms of disc pain

  • Frequent episodes of back pain
  • Leg pain is often more severe than back pain if the disc is herniation
  • Pain that also radiates to the buttocks and hip
  • Pain may follow heavy lifting or lots of twisting and repetitive work
  • Pain is sharp and shooting in nature
  • Pain aggravated by increased intradiscal pressure
    1. Weight-bearing – standing, walking, sitting for prolonged periods
    2. Coughing, sneezing or bearing down while using the toilet
    3. Position changes – pain increases when bending forward and decreases when lying or with knees bent

What will the chiropractor do?

First, they will ask lots of questions about your pain. This is called a case history, and the chiropractor can often gain a fairly clear idea of whether your pain is disc related just from the information you provide. The chiropractor will then examine you. They may be looking for indications that a nerve in the back is compressed. This will be apparent to them if they find: – signs of reduced sensation over certain parts of the skin -signs of muscular weakness – reduced muscular reflexes In very rare cases, nerve compression can be considered an emergency. Your chiropractor will tell you if they are concerned and will refer you immediately to the appropriate health care professional.


Treatment will vary for the individual based on the problem found, patient comfort and preference. At the Beverley and Driffield Chiropractic Clinics, we will fully discuss your treatment options with you and explain what treatment will involve BEFORE we begin so that you can decide if treatment is right for you. We often recommend gentle home exercises and lifestyle modifications to complement our hands-on care. We are frequently asked about spinal surgery during our consultations. The need for surgery is very rare and is usually considered a ‘last resort’ for spinal orthopaedic consultants. It is typically only considered for those who respond poorly to conservative treatment, such as chiropractic, and those with serious neurological changes. As we have mentioned above, if the chiropractor has any concerns or feels that you are not responding as we would expect, we will discuss this with you and agree upon the most appropriate form of referral.