WHAT IS A DISC?
Your back bone, or spine, is made up of bones called vertebrae that are separated by discs. A disc is made up of a tough outer portion called the annulus fibrosus and a softer inner portion called the nucleus pulposus that is a gel like substance. The two parts that make up a disc help to evenly distribute pressure and force to act as a cushion. There is no blood supply which means that the disc cannot repair itself.
WHAT DOES A DISC DO?
- Shock absorber for the spine
- Allows for motion in the spine
- Support and protection
COMMON DISC PROBLEMS:
- Degeneration- as you age discs loose water and pliability that decrease the disc height and ability to shock absorb. As this happens the space between the bones in your spine decreases and can cause pain. This is generally progressive with a gradual onset of symptoms
- Disc bulge – when the gel like middle aspect of the disc, nucleus pulposus, protrudes into the tougher outer layer, annulus fibrosis. This can be caused by extreme pressure on the spine, degeneration, etc.
- Herniated Disc – more likely to cause pain as the inner gel like substance leaks out of the outer layer and can irritate nerve roots
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- There are many times that there is no pain associated with disc problems until they begin to irritate nerve roots
- Pain in the low back
- Weakness in the leg
By coming to physical therapy you will learn how to engage proper muscles, use better body mechanics, improve your posture and learn how to manage your symptoms.