Intervertebral disc pain overview

Intervertebral disc pain overview

Intervertebral disc pain is an extremely common condition with up to 40% of back pain reported to come from the intervertebral discs. Our intervertebral discs are both primitive and complex parts of the spine. They are primitive in that they do not have a blood supply and rely on simple diffusion of nutrients in and waste products out. This means they are susceptible to ongoing degenerative changes and damage. They are complex in their ability to absorb and distribute the weight of the body and unfortunately their ability to cause chronic pain.

To identify the cause of your intervertebral disc pain we typically will go through the following questions on the initial consultation to successfully identify the cause of the intervertebral disc pain.

  • Medical profile. Here we look at your medical history for conditions or factors that may have contributed to your intervertebral disc pain
  • Pain profile. We will ask you about the location of your pain, radiation of pain, and factors or activities that increase or reduce your intervertebral disc pain
  • Joint profile – We will ask questions regarding how the area related to your neck or back pain moves.
  • Activity profile – We will ask you questions about what activities make the intervertebral disc pain worse such as walking, going to the toilet or sitting.

Symptoms of intervertebral disc pain

Intervertebral disc pain can be variable in its onset, intensity and duration. Disc pain from trauma or herniation can be acute, whereas disc pain from degeneration and annular fissuring (tearing) can be chronic and relentless. Should a nerve be affected by a herniation or disc bulge symptoms could include neck or back pain, limb pain and limb weakness.

Causes of intervertebral disc pain

The following conditions are common causes of intervertebral disc pain.