The good news is studies have found conservative care, such as physical therapy, yields similar results to surgical treatments for many types of spine pain. Spine pain can have a variety of causes and there are many spinal structures that can be the source of the pain. One of these structures is the intervertebral disc which is located within the spinal column. The spinal column consists of 33 bones or vertebrae stacked on top of one another. This column provides support for your entire body and protects your spinal cord. In between the vertebrae are fibrocartilaginous intervertebral discs which act as shock absorbers and make up ¼ the length of the spinal column. Discs are often compared to jelly doughnuts, as they have a tougher outer layer called the annulus fibrosus and a gel-like inside called the nucleus pulposus.
Perhaps you have heard of some common disc problems, such as a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease (DDD). A herniated disc is a tear of the annulus fibrosus which allows some of the nucleus pulposus to leak out. This can occur rapidly due to an injury or develop slowly over time from poor posture or other repetitive stress. DDD describes the loss of disc volume and flexibility that occurs as we get older and sometimes from an injury. This decrease in disc height results in less space between the vertebrae. Our spinal nerves emerge from the spine in this area and can become irritated or compressed due to either of the above disc problems. This aggravation of the nerve can cause pain, numbness and/or tingling in an arm or leg depending on which nerve is involved.
We have helped numerous people find relief from neck and back pain and return to an active lifestyle. If you’re ready to start healing or would like to learn how to keep your spine and intervertebral discs healthy contact us.