The intervertebral disc is a common cause of many spine-related health issues. Located between the spinal bones, they are cartilaginous discs made of tough fibrous tissues with a gelatinous center. They serve to connect, space, and shock absorb along the spine, allowing normal turning and bending.
Spinal discs have a very poor blood supply, so they depend on joint fluids to bring nutrients in and waste out. When a spinal joint loses its normal motion, this circulation is impaired and the healthy, flexible disc turns hard and stiff, causing many problems.
Discs are attached in a certain way to the vertebra above and below it, so it cannot “slip.” However, injuries and trauma can cause a disc to bulge, herniate, or rupture. These painful injuries puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.
Disc tears are the most common disc injury: a small crack or micro tear in the tough, outer cartilage material. Disc tears cause fluids to be lost and the disc to be worn thin.
If the gelatinous center of the intervertebral disc pushes forward, backward, or to the side, swelling occurs. While this center is still contained in the tough fibrous tissues, the pressure of a bulging disc can be extremely painful.
A herniated disc occurs when the gelatinous center of the intervertebral disc ruptures through the tough fibrous tissues, extending to the outer edge and beyond the normal limits of the disc.
PROLAPSED OR SEQUESTERED DISC
Prolapsed or sequestered discs are pieces of disc materials that have separated and become a fragment or free-floating piece.
When a disc loses its fluid content and degenerates, it becomes rough and worn down and the spinal bones begin to fuse to one another.
Spinal Decompression is one of the only conservative therapies that can physically change the intervertebral disc. The treatment reduces pressure inside of the disc, causing an increase in fluid and nutrients and a reduction in the size of bulges and herniations.
Spinal decompression and conservative chiropractic care is a more safe and effective treatment to the spine than back surgery.