‘Slipped Disc’

‘Slipped Disc’


This week I am going to speak about the widely feared, misdiagnosed, misunderstood and often very manageable and self-resolving intervertebral disc issue.


Intervertebral disc means exactly that. It is a disc that lies between the vertebrae of your spine. The job of the disc is to promote movement while distributing and more importantly absorbing load. It is a very strong and durable structure that although it can herniate or move, IT CANNOT SLIP.


The belief that it can slip out of place is untrue, not backed by scientific evidence and leads to poorer outcomes as a consequence of the resultant fear and symptom justification, inactivity and poor adherence to recovery protocols as well as musculoskeletal and neurological maladaptation’s.  The same is true of an early, unnecessary MRI which I will discuss later*.


According to Fardon et al in 2014, a disc herniation is defined as the “localized or focal displacement of disc material beyond the normal margin of the intervertebral disc space,” which may be further classified as a protrusion, extrusion, or sequestration.

Some of the most important points backed by scientific research I explain to my clients are:

·         Disc issues CAN self-resolve, heal on their own and are not the death sentence they are perceived to be. This information can both liberate and encourage recovery.

·         You can have disc issues and be completely asymptomatic, pain free and have no movement or functional limitations. People have been proven to have what may be classes as ‘severe’ or sequestered discs contacting neural structures on an MRI and not even known*.

·         The size, level and location of the disc issue does not correlate directly to pain or functional outcomes.

·         Most people do not need surgical intervention. The research and studies demonstrate that initial symptoms improve with surgical rather than non-invasive or physiotherapy intervention. However, at 1-year post-operation there is no evidence of improved outcomes in comparison to regular, individualised activity and lifestyle modifications. In other words, in the large majority of cases there is absolutely no need to go under the knife whatsoever.


If this sounds like something you or yours need help with call 0879230097 or via social media messaging where you can describe your specific situation and ask how we can help you.