Lumbar Disc Injury

The discs act as shock absorbers in the spine, with a soft, mobile centre surrounded by fibrous rings. The most common injury to the disc is degenerative wear resulting in a weakening of the fibrous rings and the resultant bulge of the soft centre (nucleus) material. Depending on the extent of the bulge, the pain may be local to the spine or radiate into one or both of the legs.

Common Causes

  • Acute bending / twisting injury
  • Wear and tear over time – often from habitually poor posture or work postures such as repetitive incorrect lifting

Common Symptoms

  • Increased pain on sitting or forward bending
  • A shift or list of your shoulders to one side

Self Management

  • Remain active
  • Learn good lifting and manual handling techniques
  • Learn and adopt good posture (check out our short video on correct sitting posture)
  • Retain your flexibility – hamstring, psoas and gluteal stretches are a good place to start (link to photos)
  • Ensure you get a first episode of low back pain treated correctly. Research indicates that even when the pain resolves the muscle function remains compromised increasing the likelihood of future painful episodes.
  • Don’t assume that just because there is a disc bulge on the CT or MRI that this is the cause of your symptoms – it most likely is not!

Physiotherapy Management

  • Fully assess your injury to be sure the disc is the cause
  • Advise you on specific stretches and exercises to minimise your symptoms.
  • Ensure recovery of your stabilising (core) muscles is undertaken correctly and integrated into your work and sport postures
  • Give you a preventative program of stretches and exercises so you are less likely to have to enjoy our company again!