Friday, November 5, 2010

Disc Injuries

While the intervertebral disc is a common culprit in spine-related health problems, its function is widely misunderstood. The disc is a small cartilage pad that is situated between spinal bones. The soft jellylike center is contained by surrounding layers of fibrous tissues. Each disc serves as a connector, space, and shock absorber for the spine. When healthy, discs allow normal turning and bending. Since spinal discs have a very poor blood supply, they depend upon the circulation of joints fluids to bring in nutrients and expel waste. If a spinal joint loses its normal motion or position and this pumping action is impaired, the health of the disc can deteriorate. Like a wet sponge, a healthy disc is flexible. A dry sponge is hard, stiff, and can crack easily. This is how many disc problems begin. Because of the was each disc is attached to the vertebrae above and below it, a disc cannot "slip" as commonly thought. However, trauma or injury can cause discs to bulge, herniate, or worse, rupture. This can be quite painful, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots, interfering with their function. The chiropractic approach to disc problems is to help restore better motion and position to the spinal joints. Besides reducing disc bulging, better spinal function can help decrease inflammation and begin he slow process of healing in the surrounding soft tissue. While results cannot be guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless surgery or a dependency on pain pills, by choosing conservative chiropractic care.

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