Thursday, January 6, 2011

Part 2

DISC INJURIES (Slipped Disc)
Figure 9 shows a normal disc and figure 10 shows a protruding “slipped” disc. The disc is a spongy pad which holds the vertebrae apart. The disc consists of outer rings of fibers which surround and contain a mass of gel-like fluid called the nucleus pulposus. The vertebrae above balances over the mass of fluid and depends upon it to allow the spine to be moveable. Loss of this disc material makes the spine move abnormally and any tearing or ripping of this disc may result in the substance of this nucleus shifting backward and gradually putting pressure against the sciatic nerve roots which results in back pain and, possibly pain down the leg as seen in figure 11.

The pain of a disc may stay in the low back or may radiate down the leg, usually in the back or side of the thigh and calf or front of the leg. Sometimes, one or more of the toes may become numb or tingle. Pain may be noted on the top or bottom of the foot or along the side of it. You will notice marked spasm in the low back. In many cases the patient will lean to either the right or left and find it painful to stand erect. Coughing, sneezing or straining may aggravate the pain.

There is a tear in the rubber band-like disc allowing the inner gel-like material to slip backward to pinch the nerve root.

Depending on the severity of the disc bulge, the pain (sciatica) will travel down the leg.

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