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Did you know that discs can heal?

Many people believe that our discs ‘slip’ or that our disc can ‘prolapse’ and that there is nothing that can be done, that they remain in that state forever.

Actually, your body is continually healing itself. It’s amazing! This is most easily seen when you cut yourself.  This is happening all over your body – you get a new skin every 2-4 weeks and even a new skeleton every 7-10 years!

So back to your discs.  A recent study, Chiu et al – The probability of spontaneous regression of lumbar herniated disc: a systematic review, showed that spontaneous regression of herniated disc tissue can occur, and can completely resolve after conservative treatment.

When discs get damaged there are four labels depending on the severity:

1.     A disc bulge is where the disc has changed its shape.

2.     A disc protrusion is where the outermost layers of the anulus fibrosus of the intervertebral discs of the spine are intact, but bulge when one or more of the discs are under pressure.

3.     A disc extrusion is where the layers of the anulus are torn and the nucleus pulposus is able to exit the disc.

4.     The most severe is called disc sequestration and is where a portion of the vertebral disc fragments and migrates into the spinal canal. Typically, the nucleus pulposus of a herniated disc extrudes through the annular fibres and a piece of the nucleus breaks free.

If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, this could involve either a disc protrusion or a disc extrusion.

The study results showed that “The rate of spontaneous regression was found to be 96% for disc sequestration, 70% for disc extrusion, 41% for disc protrusion, and 13% for disc bulging. The rate of complete resolution of disc herniation was 43% for sequestrated discs and 15% for extruded discs.”

This is interesting as it shows that the bigger the disc injury – the more likely it is to regress and heal.

So what does this mean?

It means that your disc has the ability to repair and heal over time.  That you don’t have to avoid bending, walking, running, exercising and living life for fear of making it worse.

If you would like to know more or are experiencing back pain, visit the team at Shefford Osteopathic Clinic. We can help to alleviate your pain, offering advice and practical tips to keep you active… and living life.

This summary was produced by Karen Robinson, a registered Osteopath and founder of the Shefford Osteopathic Clinic.