The folklore surrounding intervertebral disc injury has inspired some wildly descriptive and unhelpful language. Slipped disc wins by a mile, but you can also blow a disc, bulge a disc, pop a disc, even say I’ve got a disc”. I once heard someone say that they had mulched a disc! You could use more medical terms and say you have a ruptured, herniated or prolapsed disc. Googling images of prolapse is definitely not helpful.
I heard a new one the other day that made me recoil. “The doc’ said I’ve shunted a disc out in my neck.” I didn’t know how to respond initially! Shunt – I thought – that’s what trains do. Shunting is a powerful and almost unstoppable force. The term is quite ideophonetic as the sound and the association provoke ideas and imagery. I thought of a shunting train moving between other trains at a railway station. And then I thought you can’t really unshunt either. What a mean word when applied to an already linguistically unstable body part.
I couldn’t let it go of course but I couldn’t resist starting my story telling with “let me stop you in your tracks for a moment. Your neck is no railway station and it’s certainly no train crash in there”.
I am sure it’s best to leave shunted for the railway yard.
Has anyone heard of any other language for perceptions of disc injury?