The first questions one usually thinks about when they have an injury to their back is…
Could it be a disc rupture?
Do I need surgery?
Could I currently have or get permanent damage or degeneration?
An injury to a disc almost always involves micro-tearing of the fibers that make up the disc. If the fibers tear enough, there will be displacement of the internal disc materials, causing a bulge.
This bulge can put pressure on or compress the spinal cord or the spinal nerve roots, both of which can cause disabling pain and swelling.
If those same fibers tear more severely, the disc can rupture, which is far more serious, complicated, and may require surgery. So initial goals are to reduce swelling and pain and learn how to avoid further fiber tearing.
Many people have no understanding of the things that cause fiber tearing so they keep their problem from healing and many worsen the situation until they are completely disabled.
The MRI image of the side view of the low back on the tailbone on this page shows a large protrusion backward toward the spinal cord. The two-disc above the injury have a normal appearance.
The most common bulge goes from the vertebra and pushes out toward the back. So, a person naturally bends forward to relieve pressure.
In the image of the top view of the vertebra, the long bone in the center is going towards the back and a person can feel this spinous process as a bump on their back. The spinous process is on each vertebra and can be felt in a perfect row of small bumps up the entire spine.
In this image, the disc is torn or bulging towards the back and to the side which is the most common form. The bulge is pushing inn to the spinal nerve root that comes off of the spinal cord causing severe disabling pain.
Top view of a vertebra.
Dr. Kent Sifford has 30+ years of experience with the most severe disc injuries. He even has personal experience with leaking discs.
Vitality Chiropractic does specific tests to prove what kind of injury it is. X-ray and MRI are not needed unless you do not respond to care. And no, it does not need surgery most of the time.