In order to understand what a herniated disc is, we must first understand the anatomy of the disc. The disc is a cartilage pad that sits between each two vertebrae in the spine and serves as a spacer and shock absorber. The disc has two components:
The diagram below is a spinal disc by itself. You can see the central gel like substance or Nucleus and the outer rings of cartilage or Annulus. The Annulus is made up of approximately 15 cartilage rings surrounding the nucleus, wrapped just like an "ace bandage" would be wrapped around a sprained joint. Injury to one or several of these cartilage rings allows the nucleus to begin to shift causing the disc to bulge or herniate. If all the rings are damaged and tear, the nucleus can then leak out which is known as a ruptured disc.
The diagram below represents successive stages of injury to the disc that allow the nucleus to bulge or even "leak out." Due to an injury from a work or auto related accident or bending and lifting improperly, the rings of the annulus can "tear" allowing the nucleus to begin to shift. As the nucleus shifts, the disc begins to bulge. If enough rings of the annulus tear the nucleus can actually "leak out." Whether the disc simply bulges or actually leaks out, contact with the delicate nerves occurs resulting in severe back pain and/or leg pain.
Starting at the top disc below, we have:
- normal disc
- small bulge (herniation)
- large bulge (herniation)
- small leak (rupture)
- large leak (rupture)
Disc injuries, like the ones above can be effectively treated with Cox Flexion Distraction, a form of traction done by the doctor which helps to reduce the pressure inside the disc thus reducing or eliminating the disc bulge. For detailed information on this procedure click on the "Spinal Decompression" link on this web site.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing pain contact our office to schedule a free NO obligation consultation with the doctor or email Dr. Garber with a question concerning your case for a quick response. Garber Chiropractic Care Center 770-386-7707
Chiropractic Care and Pain Relief for Cartersville, Acworth, Taylorsville, White and Euharlee GA.