Our intervertebral discs change with age. Perhaps the earliest stage of degeneration occurs due to tears that occur in the annulus. These tears can result from wear and tear over a period of time. They can also be the result of a sudden injury to the disc due to a twist or increased strain on the disc that overpowers the strength of the annulus. These annular tears may cause pain in the back until they heal with scar tissue.
Internal Disc Disruption
Multiple annular tears can lead to a disc that becomes weak. The disc starts to degenerate and collapse. The vertebrae begin to compress together. The collapsing disc can be the source of pain because it has lost the ability to be a shock absorber between the vertebrae. This condition is sometimes referred to as internal disc disruption. This type of problem causes primarily mechanical back pain due to inflammation of the disc and surrounding structures.
A disc that has been weakened may rupture or herniate. If the annulus ruptures, or tears, the material in the nucleus can squeeze out of the disc, or herniate. A disc herniation usually causes compressive problems if the disc presses against a spinal nerve. The chemicals released by the disc may also inflame the nerve root, causing pain in the area where the nerve travels down the leg. This type of pain is referred to as sciatica.
Even a normal disc can rupture. Heavy, repetitive bending, twisting, and lifting can place too much pressure on the disc, causing the annulus to tear and the nucleus to rupture into the spinal canal.
What Are My Herniated Disc Treatment Options?
At Pittman Physical Therapy, our team works together to diagnose your low back pain or leg pain and provide you with customized herniated disc treatment plans that will alleviate your pain. Herniated discs, or Ruptured discs, can be very painful and proper diagnosis is key.
Herniated discs can cause tremendous pain and limited mobility that will deteriorate without effective care. Physical therapy incorporating the Redcord system offers muscle, joint and tissue support by strengthening, stabilizing and building on fitness for individual patients and athletes. The exercises are supervised by trained therapists to minimize injuries, promote healing and improve quality of life.