Back Pain? Your Discs May Be to Blame.

Back Pain? Your Discs May Be to Blame.

If you have back pain, you know just how much it can affect your life. The pain can keep you from your usual everyday activities, not to mention hobbies, travel, and more.

If you don’t know the source of your pain, the problem becomes even worse because you don’t know how to treat it or what to do next. Nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain, and they need help.

At The Painless Center, we understand your frustration and we work everyday to treat our patients’ pain so they can get back to their normal lives. If you’re experiencing back pain, one of the most common causes we see in our patients is a problem with your discs.

Read on to find out why your discs may be to blame, and how we can help.

What are discs?

Your spinal discs, also called intervertebral discs, are protective cushions that sit between the vertebrae in your spinal column, absorbing the shock of your movements and protecting your vertebrae. They’re round in shape, with a flat top and bottom, and they’re attached securely to the vertebrae above and below them. 

Your discs are strong, but they’re also susceptible to damage because of all the movement they deal with, trauma that can affect your body, and age-related wear and tear.

Common disc problems

If one of your discs breaks down, it can lead to lower back pain, leg pain, weakness, and numbness. Disc problems are sometimes difficult to diagnose and discuss because medical professionals don’t always agree on what is causing the pain, and because so many different terms are used interchangeably to describe disc problems: herniated disc, slipped disc, pinched nerve, etc.

Whatever terms are used, there are two main categories of disc problems. Degenerative disc disease occurs when the pain is coming from the disc itself. As you age, your discs start to dry out, losing flexibility and ability to absorb shock, and developing tiny tears which can cause pain.

You may also experience a herniated disc, in which the softer, inner material leaks out through the tougher, outer material and touches the nerve root, causing pain. Herniated discs are more common in people who are overweight, older, sedentary, or prone to stand or sit for long periods of time.


To accurately diagnose your disc problem, your doctor must determine if your pain is coming from the disc itself or from your nerve root. Along with a physical exam, Dr. Jason Chiu can use a diagnostic procedure called discography to identify the cause of your back pain.

The procedure includes the injection of contrast material into your spinal discs as Dr. Chiu monitors the contrast dye with real-time x-rays and CT scans to identify the problem that is causing your pain.

After reviewing your test results, Dr. Chiu can then build a customized treatment plan to address your pain and bring you back to full health. 

If you’re ready to start the process of treating your back pain, contact one of The Painless Center offices in Carlstadt or Tenafly today. Feel free to call or request an appointment with our online scheduler. We can help ease your pain!

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