Know Your Back: The Backbone – an Introduction (2)

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The intervertebral disc has been the focus of investigations and treatment, particularly surgery, in back pain. It is a structure that is responsible for load bearing and shock absorption and hence is extremely prone to injury.

The intervertebral disc as the name suggests lies between 2 subsequent vertebrae and creates a joint with vertebral bodies, where spinal motion occurs.

The disc is composed of 2 distinct parts:

The nucleus pulposus is the inner gel-like substance of the disc and provides the pressure regulation and the basis for the disc’s function. The water content of this gel is an important factor in the spinal conditions and aging.

The annulus fibrosus is the outer layer or the covering of the disc. This is formed of elastic fibres which are arranged in a way to allow for elasticity yet maintaining the shape and firmness of the disc. The annulus fibrosus is subject to tensions from within in form of the pressure exerted by the nucleus as well as from outside from the various forces acting on it during movements. The annulus can handle forces that are generated from within and over it, but it cannot handle shearing forces well. These shearing forces are generated in improper movements and weight bearing. Thus, the annulus is the one that gets damaged during disc injuries.

The treatment programs at the clinic are directed to keep your disc healthy and safe.

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