Is back pain caused by disc or vertebrae issues?
The spinal column is a complex system consisting of vertebral bodies, intervertebral discs, muscles and ligaments. The discs are interposed between the vertebral bodies; they act as shock absorbers, can withstand great tension and compression loads, and they prevent the vertebral bodies from rubbing against each other. If the discs’ elasticity diminishes, the fibrous outer ring can tear. The gel-like nucleus then presses outward from the inside of the disc to cause a slipped disc. If pressure is placed on a nerve, it can cause pain, numbness or abnormal sensations to the legs and arms.
What is a herniated or slipped disc?
A herniated or slipped disc occurs when the fluid is forced outside of the vertebral bodies, usually from a form of activity. Typically, conservative treatments will be enacted prior to surgical intervention, including:
- Medication – muscle relaxers and light pain relievers
- Exercise Therapy – stretching and core-strengthening exercises
- Nutrition – healthy diet of vegetables and high-fiber content with calcium
- Bracing supports – pain relief and proper body positioning
What is a bulging disc?
A bulging disc is similar to a herniated disc; it is labeled differently due to its origin from aging and use over time. The membrane between the discs becomes compacted and ‘bulges’ through the vertebrae causing pressure on the nerves. The symptoms and treatment are identical but can vary due to the age of the patient.