Disc herniation sounds scary, but what is it really? Remember from Spine Anatomy 101 that the spinal disc is a squishy thing that sits in between the vertebral bodies—the bones that make-up the spine. Normally, the disc has a certain shape, a contour that slowly begins to change as the disc ages. Sometimes, the disc will bulge in a generalized fashion beyond the boundaries of the bones. Disc bulging is very common and normal as the disc gets older. When a disc herniates, a focal part of the disc is displaced beyond the vertebral body boundary. The difference between a bulge and a herniation is the amount of disc that is involved. The tricky part is that both bulges and herniations are found in people who have no pain. Harry works as an accountant. All day long, he sits at his desk working with the computer. One morning, while brushing his teeth, he feels a sudden neck pain with a sharp, lacerating pain screaming down his arm. Later that night, he starts to feel numbness and ting...
The person with the most replaced parts wins and now the joint replacement race does not stop with hips, knees or shoulders. Spinal discs are the latest “joints” to undergo a technology overhaul. Disc replacement surgery, also known as disc arthroplasty, is on the minds of millions who have disc degeneration. These worn out parts of the spine generate an avalanche of problems. So why not exchange them for new ones? Donald has been so worried about his mother’s failing back. Nothing seems to be helping her. One of his friends told him about a new surgical implant that replaces the worn out discs in the spine. Wow! That might give his mother a brand new back and a brand new lease on life. Two years ago, she had her hip replaced. Within months of that surgery, she was back to ballroom dancing. If joint replacement worked for her hip, surely it could work for her back. Great, he calls his mom to share the news. Not so fast, the treatment of spinal disc degeneration is not...
A herniated (slipped) disk occurs when all or part of a spinal disk is forced through a weakened part of the disk. This places pressure on nearby nerves.
Acute low back pain
Chronic low back pain
Lumbar radiculopathy; Cervical radiculopathy; Herniated intervertebral disk; Prolapsed intervertebral disk; Slipped disk; Ruptured disk; Herniated nucleus pulposus
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The bones (vertebrae) of the spinal column run down the back, connecting the skull to the pelvis. These bones protect nerves that come out of the brain and travel down your back, forming the spinal cord. Nerve roots are large nerves that branch out from the spinal cord and leave your spinal column between each vertebrae.
The spinal vertebrae are separated by disks filled with a soft, gelatinous substance. These disks cushion the spinal colum...
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