Spinal Disk Problems

What is a disc?

A vertebral disc is the shock-absorbing structure between each vertebra, holding the spine together. They are cartilaginous joints that allow for slight mobility in the spine.

Anatomy of a Disc?

The discs are made of fibrocartilaginous material

The outside is made of a strong material called the annulus fibrosus (15 layers)

Inside this protective covering is a jelly-like substance known as the nucleus pulposus

As the spine receives stresses and pressure, the gel moves inside the annulus fibrosus and redistributes itself to absorb the impact of the pressure
The gel loses moisture as a person ages or the spine is subluxated or does not have normal curves and the spine is able to absorb less shock

The outer layer of annulus fibrosus on the intervertebral disk deteriorates

Classifications of Discs Pathology

Degenerative Disc Disease: At birth, discs are made up of 80 % water. . As you age, they lose water and get thinner. Flatter disks can't absorb shocks as well, leading to back pain. Apart from low hydration, the stress of everyday movements and minor injuries over the years can cause tiny tears in the outer wall, affecting nerves which results in pain.

Bulged Disc: A condition which refers to a problem with a rubbery disk between the spinal bones. Bulging discs occur when pressure on a spinal disc damages or breaks down the once healthy disc, causing it to compress or change its normal shape. This can in turn put pressure on spinal nerves, causing pain and inflammation.

Herniated/ Protruded Disc: herniated disk occurs when some of the softer "jelly" of the disc pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior.A herniated disk can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg.

Extruded Disc: A disc extrusion occurs when the outer part of the spinal disc ruptures, allowing the inner, gelatinous part of the disc to squeeze out. Disc extrusions can occur with the ligaments intact, or damaged.

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