Disc tears

Intervertebral disc tears

The intervertebral discs are sometimes called ‘discs’ for short. The name ‘disc tears’ is no longer used. The correct term is now disc fissures. The reason disc tear is no longer used is because people thought the word disc tear implied that the disc had been violently or traumatically caused. Such as in cases of a fall or car accident etc. Through this article will be continue to use the term disc tear.

Disc tears absolutely can come from a violet accident such as a car accident or a fall from a height, however the vast majority of disc tears come from degeneration of the discs. Disc degeneration simply means that the disc has broken down over time. People who sit for long periods of time, lift heavy objects all day at work are at more risk. These are usually categorised into three risk groups.

  • Mechanical – meaning people who sit a lot or lift a lot at work.
  • Nutritional factors – not getting enough nutrients for disc repair.
  • Hereditary factors – genetically not the toughest discs.

Symptoms of intervertebral disc tears

Almost all degenerated disc contain tears. So you would expect everyone to be in pain, right? Not the case. Not all disc tears are painful. This next point is very important. For a disc tear to be painful it must occur or extend to the outer third of the disc. There are no pain receptors to detect pain in the inner two thirds of a disc. When painful, disc tears 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. This is called discogenic referred pain. It is often confused with radicular pain – coming from a nerve.

Treatment of disc tears

It is important to see a chiropractor of physiotherapist if you experience any neck or back pain with referred pain (goes to another place). At Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C), our Balmain and Rozelle chiropractors or physiotherapists will determine if it is nerve pain (radicular) or intervertebral disc pain (discogenic pain with referral). This determination will change the treatment strategy. The 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) our chiropractors in Balmain and Rozelle are passionate about getting you back pain free and back to living your active life. We specialise in back pain treatments with the latest chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments

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