So many people have an unexplained herniated disc and have no idea where it came from. They are full of anxiety wondering how they could possibly have herniated a disc when they do not remember hurting their back in any way. In other instances, the blame is eventually accessed to some innocent occurrence that might have been painful, but is probably not the underlying source of a bulging intervertebral disc.
In reality, most herniated discs can not be linked to any definitive causative event. Doctors know many possible contributors towards herniated disc development, but few disc issues are the direct result of a singular cause, as people like to assume. Instead, most herniated discs are the natural consequence of typical and expected changes in the spinal anatomy, rather than the result of a particular traumatic occurrence. However, some exceptions to this rule certainly exist, such as herniated discs which are caused by falls, sporting accidents and motor vehicle collisions.
This interesting essay delves into the mistaken notion that most bulging discs come from a known event. Meanwhile factual medical science tells that unexplained herniated discs are the rule, rather than the exception.
Unexplained Herniated Disc Theories
Many patients assume that if they have a herniated disc, there must be a definitive reason why. They scan their memories and often quickly begin to narrow down possible circumstances and events that they feel might have been the origin of the herniation. Typically, patients will focus on more recent happenings, often just prior to the time of symptomatic onset. If nothing comes to mind, they might go way back in their personal history, occasionally implicating occurrences that may have taken place years or even decades prior.
The usual culprits include falls, car accidents, injuries suffered in any way and even housework that might have resulted in pain. Of course any of these conditions might have been responsible for creating transient discomfort, but it is virtually impossible to determine if they played any role in the creation of the herniated disc. The only true way to know is to have prior spinal imaging from immediately before the suspected onset event and then confirmation imaging documenting the disc herniation directly afterwards. This is a nearly impossible scenario to achieve.
Unexplained Disc Injury
Why does a patient need to know where a herniated disc came from in the first place? Will the knowledge banish the disc problem or somehow allow the patient to go back in time to avoid it? Of course not. It is merely human nature to seek answers and many patients become obsessed with determining why they have a herniated disc, often to their detriment.
Some care providers also worsen this occurrence, inquiring with patients for an extended time frame about possible causes of their herniated disc. This is often seen when doctors or chiropractors work closely with lawyers and are hoping to get a cut of some litigation windfall. It sounds callous, but care providers know the facts of herniated discs and could care less about how they occurred unless there is some financial gain to be made by referring the patient to an attorney friend to pursue civil litigation.
Even when economic gain is not the motivation, some innocent care providers can still cause harm by creating a dire nocebo effect in blaming the disc herniation on some event or occurrence without any evidence confirming the theory except personal opinion. We have seen many patients suffer terribly because of stupidity such as this, resulting in dramatic, needless lifestyle changes (changes in job, giving up a sport or beloved pastime, etc) due to fear of recurrence or worsening of pain.
Unexplained Herniated Disc Facts
The vast majority of herniated discs simply occur due to normal spinal aging and the management of expected spinal stresses. In essence, most herniated discs are idiopathic.
Degenerative disc disease encourages herniated discs to occur and is a universal part of aging for all people, especially in the cervical and lumbar regions of the vertebral column. Stresses are continuously exerted on the spine, due to movement, strain, and various natural forces. These stresses encourage herniated discs to form, since the disc structure is organic and will suffer deterioration from the cumulative trauma of these normal demands on the anatomy. These are facts that every doctors must surely know. However, they are not common knowledge to laymen, who mostly view herniated discs as injuries that are inherently pathological and painful. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Instead of worrying about how a herniated disc occurred, we highly recommend simply learning more about what herniated discs truly are and how they are unlikely to create chronic pain. Most herniations are not symptomatic and even the ones which are painful usually will heal and resolve within a few weeks time. Only a very small number of herniated discs require medical care and virtually none actually require surgery, with the notable exceptions of discs which are definitively compressing the spinal cord or spinal nerves and causing acute and possibly permanently injurious symptomology.
We have an entire huge website full of the latest factual research on herniated discs. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to successfully end your pain. Please accept our invitation to continue to explore our website and benefit from the treasure trove of knowledge contained herein.