The Most Common Spinal Disc Problems

Bottom Line:
Have you ever experienced back pain? Did you know it is one of the most common health complaints in the US? Each day about 31 million Americans report having back pain, and a lot of it comes from spinal disc issues.

Why it Matters:
Your spinal disc is a complex piece of cartilage that sits between the vertebrae (bones) that make up your spine. Your discs have two parts. The tough outer portion, called the annulus fibrosus, is made up of collagen fibers. The inside of the disc is called the nucleus pulposus, which is gel-like. The discs have three main functions: to absorb shock, hold the vertebrae of the spine together, and allow flexibility of the spinal column.

Back pain and other symptoms can occur if the disc is damaged or pressing on your spinal nerves. The following are some common disc problems.

Types of Spinal Disc Problems

  • Herniated Discs – A herniated disc is often called a slipped or ruptured disc. Symptoms depend on what part of the spine is affected and usually only occur on one side of the body. Patients describe a burning, sharp, stabbing, or shooting pain with specific movements. Some people experience numbness, tingling, or weakness if there is spinal nerve compression.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease – When one or more spinal discs break down, often due to age and injury, pain can result. Over time, your spinal discs become worn and lose their rubbery texture. It’s then unable to act as a shock absorber, and flexibility can become limited.

Next Steps:
Does Your Back Hurt? Back pain can significantly impact your activities and active lifestyle. If you’ve experienced back pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness, give us a call. These symptoms may be a sign that you have a spinal disc problem.

Science Source(s):
(1) Herniated Lumbar Disc. BMJ 2011

by Christopher Freytag, D.C.

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