What Does A Jelly Doughnut and a herniated disc have in common?
You’ve heard it a million Times. “My lower back is killin me!” Or that they have a ‘slipped disc’ or even ‘ruptured’ the discs in their neck or back? When people bring up a slipped or herniated disc they are actually trying to describe is a herniated disc. It is a very common source of pain in the neck, lower back which in turn can produce pain in the arms and legs.
The soft, pliable pads present between the hard bones of the spinal column, your vertebrae are your spinal discs. The spinal column creates a protective armor for the spinal cord and other nerve roots. It is these discs between the vertebrae that allow the back to flex and bend. Think of discs as shock absorber and a ligament which both absorbs shock and holds the spine together. These discs function to protect the spinal column from getting damaged by excessive movements. The discs in the lumbar spine or low back are made of a thick outer ring of cartilage called the annulus and a gel-like substance or the nucleus pulposis. In the cervical spine, or the neck, the composition of the discs is same but they are comparatively smaller in size.
When this center nucleus pushes through the outer edge of the disk and back toward the spinal canal, disc herniation or rupture is caused. Now the disc acts like a leaky shock and no longer has the dampening abilities it had prior to herniating. This causes pressure on the spinal nerves. If you have disc issues you know that spinal nerves are very sensitive. The slightest pressure to a herniated disc can cause immense pain, numbness, or weakness in not only the spine, but also one or both legs. This occurs because the herniated disc caused mechanical irritation of one or more spinal nerves and sometimes the spinal cord itself and essentially changes the physiology of the nerve which elicits either pain or weakness. Herniated discs are mainly caused by factors like improper lifting, excessive smoking, too much body weight, sudden pressure and repetitive strenuous activities.
So think of a jelly doughnut as the disc.
The outer layers are the annulus and the jelly inside is the nucleus. We all know if you push on the donut or take too big of bite the jelly squirts out and that represents the herniation.
If you or a loved one are experiencing pain in the spine with referral into legs or arms, they should get the symptoms diagnosed at Phoenix Pain treatment rather than ignore them. A physical examination will help determine which nerve roots are affected and how serious the condition is. An X-Ray, MRI or CT or electromyography will be definitive tests to determine what type of disc involvement you may have.