The spinal discs are positioned between each vertebra of the spine. They act as shock absorbers when the body moves, with carrying loads or with jarring forces. The disc is formed by a tough fibrous outer surface, with a softer inner substance similar in texture to toothpaste.
The lumbar spinal discs can be injured by a forceful uncontrolled movement, or they can be gradually damaged by repetitive straining over time. With mild injury the disc can be stretched or pinched, with more severe injury the outer surface can be weakened to allow the inner substance to push towards the outside (bulge). With further damage the outer surface can tear allowing the inner substance to prolapse outside of the disc. With a true disc prolapse the inner disc substance may then irritate nearby nerves as they emerge from the spinal cord.
Management of a lumbar disc injury is dependant on the severity of the injury. Initial management includes reducing excessive inflammation, and hands on physiotherapy to gently regain movements of the spinal joints and disc. To minimise the re-occurrence of disc pain, core stability or Pilates type strengthening exercises may be required. In some cases injections or surgery may be required.
Please note this information acts as a guide only. Please review with your physiotherapists if you have any concerns.