Spinal discs (or discs, as people refer to them sometimes) are rubbery and circular pads that can be found between the specialized bones called the vertebrae. Medically, spinal discs are also called intervertebral discs. Each disc consists of the nucleus pulposus which is the jelly-like core part, and the annulus fibrosus or the outer membrane.
Spinal discs function by separating the vertebrae. The discs set the vertebrae apart, stopping them from rubbing together. As people age, spinal discs become less and less elastic, typically similar to how consistent a hard rubber is. Because of this, the discs tend to be weaker and more prone to injuries.
Because the flexibility of the discs is gradually lessened as part of aging, spinal disc problems are somewhat expected, although it can also be prevented if you really want to. First, you need to know what can cause it, as well the triggering factors that you may not know yet.
Those who sit for a long period of time can also be more prone to spinal disc problems, as well as those who typically engage in strenuous physical activity and heavy lifting.
Before identifying the problem, you have to first know its symptoms as you encounter them. The most common symptoms would be pain in the neck or back. This pain can be sharp (usually in the acute stages) or dull and achy in the chronic stage.
Radiating nerve pain is another symptom of disc problems, if the disc irritates or compresses a nerve. In order for this to occur, the disc will commonly buldge or herniate. The allows the jelly-like center of the disc to protrude from the area of the disc.
When disc herniations occur, how are they diagnosed?
Once you are evaluated by your healthcare provider, it is common to order an MRI examination of the affected area to determine if you have a herniated disc. An MRI exam can demonstrate if you have a spinal disc herniation, where the herniation occurs and how sever the herniation is.
Once the condition is identified by your healthcare provider, you will typically need to follow up with some treatment. Although surgical options are possible in severe cases, they are more uncommon and conservative therapy can usually resolve the symptoms.
Therapy provided include gentle stretching, range of motion exercises, distraction and strengthening the area involved. Low level laser therapy can also be used to provide deeper tissue healing and inflammation control.
Spinal disc problems may be prevented or at least reduced if you know the right steps to take. Make sure to always keep a correct posture, not only for the sake of preventing spinal disc problems but also other possible back injuries. Regular exercise also helps in strengthening your back muscles and core stomach.