The spine is a complex structure consisting of many vertebrae which are stacked upon one another and each of these bones are separated by spinal discs. The vertebral disc in the spine primarily function as a shock absorber between the adjacent vertebrae. Spinal discs also act as ligaments to hold the vertebrae of the spine together and as cartilaginous joints which allow for slight mobility in the spine.
Each disc is composed of two parts: the annulus fibrosus, a tough, circular outer portion which surrounds the inner core, and the nucleus pulposus, the soft, inner core consisting of a loose network of fibers. The structure of a healthy, vertebral disc is compared to that of a jelly doughnut. The complex composition of each disc evenly distributes the force and pressure which is applied on the spine. At birth, approximately 80 percent of the discs are composed of water and these must be well hydrated to function properly. However, as people age, the structures of the spine, including the discs, go through a natural process of degeneration which is generally the leading cause for disc complications.
As individual’s age, the spinal discs begin to dehydrate and become stiffer and fragile, causing the disc to be less able to adjust to compression and stress. While this is a normal process, the stage may be painful for some individuals and can ultimately cause a disc herniation, disc bulge and other issues within the discs of the spine.
Back pain is one of the most common symptoms reported by the majority of the population. For those individuals experiencing pain and discomfort, performing normal, daily activities can become a challenge. If the individual is experiencing constant symptoms of back pain, however, the source of their symptoms could be due to a disc herniation or disc bulge. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.