Spinal Disc Pathology

The spinal vertebrae are separated by fluid filled pads known as the Nucleus Pulposus. These are surrounded by a tough, fibrous outer membrane called the Annulus Fibrosus and are held in place by the spinal ligaments and surrounding muscle. The pads act as shock absorbers, helping to cushion movement and protect the cartilage between joints.

A ’Herniated Disc’, also known as ‘Disc Bulge, Slipped Disc, or Ruptured Disc’ occurs when the inner disc material bulges outwards, pinching on surrounding nerves and causing irritation.

Disc herniation commonly presents as ‘Radicular Pain’, also known as ‘Nerve Root Pain’. An example of this is Sciatica, with pain radiating from the lower back to the leg, resulting in pain, weakness and / or numbness.

This can affect the Cervical, Thoracic or Lumbar spine.


  • Degeneration / ageing (discs become harder and less flexible, making them more prone to rupture)
  • Heavy lifting
  • Overuse
  • High BMI
  • Genetics

At Jonathan Clark Physiotherapy, our therapists can provide a detailed physical and neurological examination to help determine the cause and source of your back pain. We can also test nerve function and muscle strength, allowing us to provide tailored treatment to help reduce your symptoms. Treatment focusses on the reduction of pain, whilst increasing your ease and range of movement. This will also include postural and positioning advice and exercise.