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The Most Common Spinal Disc Problems

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The Most Common Spinal Disc Problems

Spinal Disc Injuries

Bottom Line: 

Chances are, you’ve experienced back pain. Did you know that's one of the most common health complaints in the United States? Each day about 31 million Americans report having back pain, with it being a leading cause of lost work time and forcing people to miss out on their activities and hobbies. A lot of times, the pain comes from spinal disc issues.

Why it Matters: 

Your spinal disc is a complex piece of cartilage that sits between the vertebrae (bones) that make up your spine. Your discs have two parts. The tough outer portion, called the annulus fibrosus, is made up of collagen fibers. The inside of the disc is called the nucleus pulposus, which is gel-like. The discs have three main functions: to absorb shock, hold the vertebrae of the spine together, and allow flexibility and movement of the spine.

Back pain and other symptoms can occur if the disc is damaged or pressing on your spinal nerves. The following are two of the more common disc types of disc injuries.

Types of Spinal Disc Injuries

● Herniated Discs - A herniated disc is often referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc. It occurs when the outer fibrous layer of the disc becomes damaged and tears form. The nucleus pulposus then squeezes through the tears, forming the herniation, or bubble. Symptoms depend on what part of the spine is affected and usually are only felt on one side of the body. Oftentimes, the pain is described as a burning, sharp, stabbing, or shooting pain with specific movements. Some people experience numbness, tingling, or weakness if there's spinal nerve compression.

● Degenerative Disc Disease - When one or more spinal discs break down, often due to age or injury, pain can result. Over time, your spinal discs become worn and lose their rubbery texture resulting in decreased movement and less shock absorption.

Next Steps: 

Back pain can significantly impact your active lifestyle. If you’ve experienced back pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness, give our office a call! These symptoms may be a sign that you have a spinal disc problem and we’d love to help get you better.

Science Source(S): 

Herniated Lumbar Disc. BMJ 2011

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