Have I damaged my back?



The spine consists of bony blocks called vertebrae which are bound together by strong ligaments.  These are reinforced by large powerful muscles which move the vertebra and also provide support to the vertebra.  It is therefore very difficult to actually damage your spine.  The spinal cord runs down the middle of the bone and is therefore protected by bone, ligaments and muscles.  In most cases of lower back pain none of these structures has actually been damaged, more correctly they have simply been irritated by overwork.  Even if a diagnosis of a slipped or prolapsed disc is made, it is not necessarily the injured disc that is causing pain.

A prolapsed disc arises from excessive force being absorbed by that particular disc over a long period of time, causing the disc to become thinned and weakened and eventually results in the prolapsing of the centre of the disc.  It is important to understand that if a disc does prolapse, it is another symptom of poor spinal mechanics rather than being the ultimate explanation for the cause of your pain.

To alleviate the pressure on the disc and therefore reduce the likelihood of further damage being done to the disc, your habits of movement need to be carefully analyzed and corrected by your physiotherapist.