Tuesday, July 7, 2009
What's A Herniated Disc?
Diagnosed With a Herniated Disc?
By: Dr. Robert Duvall, DPT, ATC, MGFI
You've probably heard people say they have a "slipped" or "ruptured" disc in the back. Sometimes they complain that their back “went out”. What they're most likely describing is a herniated disc. This condition is a common source of back and leg pain.
Discs are soft cushions found between the vertebrae that make up the spinal column (your backbone). In the middle of the spinal column is the spinal canal, a hollow space that contains the spinal cord. The nerves that supply the arms, leg, and torso come from the spinal cord.
The nerves from the neck supply the arms and hands, and the nerves from the low back supply the butt and legs. The discs between the vertebrae allow the back to move freely and act like shock absorbers.
The disc is made up of two main sections. The outer part (the annulus) is made up of tough cartilage that is comprised of series of rings. The center of the disc is a jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus. A disc herniates or ruptures when part of the jelly center pushes through the outer wall of the disc into the spinal canal, and puts pressure on the nerves. A disc bulgedisc bulge is when the jelly substance pushes the outer wall but doesn't completely go through the wall.
This post is the first of a series of posts featuring experts in the field of back pain. Dr. Duvall is associated with The Healthy Back Institute and it's program Lose The Back Pain. For more info including videos and free reports clock on the "Lose The Back Pain" photo on the right.