We have 23 discs in our spinal column. A disc is the structure sandwiched between the spinal bones (vertebrae). The disc is made up of a fibrous outer ring and a gel-like center. Discs sit in between the spinal vertebrae and act as a cushion or shock absorber between the bones. They also help the spine curve easily and join the vertebrae together.
Many researchers believe that disc lesions are the single most common cause of lower back pain. Surprisingly, disc wear and tear can manifest as early as your teenage years. Over the years, the disc begins to loose a little fluid and small lesions, or cracks, begin to form on the outer wall. The soft gel-like center then begins to bulge or push the fibrous outer wall out of shape. The result is called a protrusion.
If the center bulges completely out of the ring, it is called a disc prolapse. The prolapsed disc can press on the spinal cord or put extreme pressure on the spinal nerves resulting in pain that affects sitting, standing, walking, lifting, urinating, defecating, sneezing, standing, coughing and moving nearly impossible. Numbness of the leg or loss of muscular control may also occur in extreme cases.
If you have any of these symptoms, please call Dr Hopson and discuss your treatment options.
P H O T O : Columns from the
Thomas Jefferson Memorial,
which stands as a symbol of liberty
and endures as a site for
reflection and inspiration.
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