When the discs of the spinal column are put under pressure from bending, twisting, reaching or jumping, they can weaken over time. The annulus, surrounding the nucleus, is torn microscopically as a result of poor manual handling habits. This weakens the bands surrounding the nucleus and may tear through the disc bulging the wall outwards pressing on the major nerve channel causing severe pain and possible nerve damage.
This may result in permanent injury to the joint and will cause pain. This ruptured disc can also be called a herniated disc or a disc protrusion. Sometimes it is colloquially called a slipped disc. The disc does not actually slip but the wall of the disc is pushed out by years of incorrect manual handling. Once any part of the nucleus is lost the bands surrounding will collapse bringing the two vertebrae closer together. This causes inflammation and then debilitation.
Above image: Top view of the progression towards a ruptured disc
Above image: Side view of overloading an intervertebral disc and resultant rupturing of the nucleus
Looking left to right, the first image shows a normal disc without a load. The next image shows a disc under load (ie by lifting a heavy object). When the spine is erect this heavy load is distributed predictably and evenly by all of the discs in the spinal column. If the load is too heavy this can cause the nucleus to break through the annulus bands and protrude or rupture the interverbal disc. If the load is picked up whilst bending forward, this may cause the same damage. If the manual handler has a habit of poor lifting technique this will cause tears in the annulus, weakening of the bands and can result in the development of osteoarthritis or bone spurs. It can also cause a thinning of the intervertebral disc, a collapsing of the joints in the lower back, a loss of mobility which results in inflammation and pain.
This all sounds a bit technical, but it is very important to understand the working of the spinal column – especially when manual handling – so that you can see the value of correct body biomechanics and manual handling at all times.
The good news is that we have developed a really engaging way to teach people how the body works and how an injury occurs so that they see the value in changing their manual handling habits. Just read this testimonial to hear what one recent participant thought of our Backsafe 1 training program.
Hi mate my name is Dan Barry and I’m a director at Gippsland NDT Services. I attended your course today. Before arrival I thought it would be another bullshit attendance course. After 5 mins minutes I realised you as a presenter you are the real deal. I have done hundreds of inductions over the last 30 years. I have been on a burning oil rig stuck down a mine and in a sinking boat in South China Sea. Yours is the most informative and real I have ever in counted. Tonight as I sit with my wife and 2 little girls I am educating them with your book I hope we can all be educated by you teachings.
To find out more about our Backsafe training call Peter Broadbent on 0414 460 859 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org