Discogenic pain

Lumbar discogenic pain

Low back pain is a modern day pandemic that carries a huge social and economic burden for all involved. Make no mistake, the impact of back pain is huge with its incidence rising faster than any other medical condition. Depending on the country in the western world it is the second, third or fourth most common reasons someone will seek medical care in the context of musculoskeletal (muscle and joint) pain or injury.

Between the bones of the spine (vertebrae) are cartilage discs that support weight and allow smooth motion of the spine. In fact the spine supports half the body’s weight. Most cases of back pain will resolve however for some to will develop into to chronic and debilitating condition.

Discogenic back pain infers that the source of pain is the intervertebral disc. Some studies suggest this accounts for approximately 40% of all back pain. Pain fibres within the disc are thought to be activated by sites of injury and degeneration within the disc such as degenerative disc disease, disc herniation and disc rupture. The diagnosis of discogenic pain is difficult at times as it is a clinical diagnosis and not something that can be just concluded from image findings such as MRI and CT scan. Discography or a discogram may be considered to aid in the diagnosis of discogenic back pain however this is invasive and involves contrast fluid injection into the disc in combination with CT scan or fluoroscopy (real time x-ray). This is used to visualise the morphology (shape) and integrity of the disc.

Symptoms of discogenic low back pain

The symptoms of discogenic pain syndrome are centred on back pain. This is the most common symptom. Pain is exacerbated through postures and activities that increase the pressure within the disc. Intradiscal back pain increases with postures such as sitting, bending forward, coughing, sneezing and going to the toilet. There can be buttock pain and leg pain. Many patients describe sensation changes and tingling in one or both limbs especially when on the toilet.

Treatment of discogenic low back pain

At Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) our chiropractors and physiotherapists specialise in the non-surgical treatment of low back discogenic back pain. We use the best in non-surgical techniques. Treatments include McKenzie Method of mechanical diagnosis and treatment, spinal mobilisations, spinal manipulation, strengthening exercises, exercise programs and advice. Our chiropractors and physiotherapists concentrate on functional improvement and pain reduction.

Other causes of low back pain

The following conditions are common causes of low back pain.