Disc fissures

Intervertebral disc fissures

Disc (intervertebral disc) fissures were once called disc tears because that’s what they are. Disc fissures are tears within a disc. They are no longer called tears. It was thought that the term ‘disc tear’ implied that there had been a traumatic cause, such as whiplash accident or a fall. Disc fissures can certainly occur during a traumatic incident however the vast majority occur as a result of degeneration. Disc degeneration implies that the disc has slowly broken down over time. It is thought that disc degeneration happens as a result of mechanical factors (heavy lifting occupations), nutritional factors (disc not getting nutrients for repair), and hereditary factors (genetically not a tough disc). Almost all degenerated disc contain disc tears.

Symptoms of disc fissures

Not all disc fissures are painful. For a disc fissure to be painful it must occur or extend to the outer third of the disc. Even then it may or may not cause pain. When painful, disc fissures will cause pain at the level of the tear in the spine and may refer pain to another area. In the neck, an intervertebral disc fissure may cause pain in the shoulder or arm, or in the middle of the shoulder blades (interscapular region). In the low back, pain may refer to the buttock, or all the way down the leg.

Treatment of disc fissures

It is important to see a chiropractor of physiotherapist if you experience any neck or back pain with referred pain (goes to another place). Your chiropractor or physiotherapist will determine if it is nerve pain (radicular) or intervertebral disc pain (discogenic pain with referral). This determination will change the treatment strategy. The Balmain and Rozelle chiropractors and physiotherapists at Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) can successfully manage both of these causes of neck and back pain. All treatments performed by our chiropractors and physiotherapists are safe, reliable and based on the latest evidence.

At Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) we treat a wide range of neck and back pain conditions including intervertebral disc fissures. Our Balmain and Rozelle chiropractors and physiotherapists are passionate about getting you pain free and moving again

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