In the second part of a series of three articles, we will talk about how the concept of ”Preventive Physiotherapy” can be used to possibly prevent a slipped disc.
Slipped disc is the colloquial term for a herniated disc, or prolapsed disc. These can be traumatic in nature (due to accidents), or due to general wear and tear.
Intervertebral discs are found between the bones (vertebrae) of the spines. They function as shock absorbers, and maintain the space between vertebrae. It is important to maintain this intervertebral disc space in order to prevent compression of the nerves present here. Excessive pressure applied on any part of the disc will cause its gel—like contentsto ooze out. This gel may in turn apply pressure on the nerve root, resulting in pain along the course of this nerve.
There are two factors affecting the size of this space (and therefore, the amount of pressure on nerve roots):
1. The health of the intervertebral disc
2. The balanced activation of the muscles supporting the spine
The concept of “Preventive Physiotherapy” will preserve the health of the disc by ensuring optimal activation of spinal stabilisers. Analysis of muscle strength, posture and lifestyle, can be used to identify the following:
1. Weaknesses in the muscular system supporting the spine
2. Incorrect movement patterns (which may place excessive force on the disc)
3. The cause of these weaknesses and incorrect movement patterns
Early intervention, in the form of specific exercises targeting the weak muscles and functional training, may prevent excessive force being placed on the disc. It is thus possible to prevent non-traumatic slipped discs.
Consult one of our Physiotherapists to maintain the health of your intervertebral discs.
Article written by Aparna Shah, Physiotherapist
Image credit: Unsplash, Sasun Bughdaryan