When you sit, stand up, bend or twist, large compressive forces are applied to your spine. There are several factors that determine the ability of your inter-vertebral discs to handle these forces:
- Your inherited make-up.
- Disc health, which is worsened by smoking, poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, weak muscles, and obesity.
- Poor posture – while sitting, standing and lifting.
- Heavy loads during home, work or sporting activities.
When the forces applied to your back exceed the strength of your discs, minor injuries to the disc can occur. It is important to note these injuries may or may not hurt at the time. As the continuous stresses and repeated injuries accumulate, they cause wear and tear on the spine’s discs and joints. The intervertebral discs dry up, becoming thinner and stiffer. The inner nucleus loses its soft gel-like consistency, becoming more like crab meat. Often the annulus of the posterior inter-vertebral disc is the first area injured. Small tears occur that heal with weaker scar tissue.
As scar tissue accumulates, the annulus becomes weaker overall. This weakness can suddenly give way and allow a bulge to form, called a disc protrusion. Inflammation from injury or pressure on the spinal cord or nerve root, irritates the nerves and surrounding structures and causes pain.
Bulging Disc Surgery
Time and conservative treatment will often settle inflammation and herniation. However, in the case of uncontrollable pain or if the pressure affects nerve functioning, your clinician may consider removing the herniation.
Bulging disc surgery is used to remove the material that is compressing nerves and causing arm symptoms, or to remove the entire disc. The surgery can’t cure neck pain caused by a torn annulus, this must heal by itself. The natural healing processes involves scar formation to heal the annulus tear.
Read more about Disc Replacement Surgery.
Make an appointment with Dr Parkinson today.