A herniated disc causes pain and discomfort. There is no doubt about that. What is surprising is how few doctors stop to take the time to explain to hernia disc sufferers what causes this unfortunate spinal abnormality. There are some variations, and this whole topic is worth exploring throughout this article. While the process of how disc herniation occurs may be multi-layered, it is surprising how few people actually experience pain with it.
The truth is that people may have 10 herniated discs and have no idea that they have so much going on in their backs. Meanwhile, people who have just one other injury to the back may experience constant pain and suffering. The structure and process of herniation are discussed herein.
How Are Spinal Discs Structured?
The intervertebral discs act as a cushion that sit between the vertebrae in the spine. Otherwise, the bones would crash into one another, which would be unpleasant and painful. The vertebrae are the spinal bones that line the spinal column to give us the ability to sit up rather than squash down into a pile of organs.
The spinal discs are multi-purposed. They support the movement at the spinal bone level, absorb shock such as while jumping or moving, and maintain the curvature of the spine. They do not have any nerve endings nor do they have their own direct blood supply. You are wondering now how you can be in such writhing pain with a spinal disc problem, even though the discs have no nerve endings.
Furthermore, the discs are tough, surrounded in layers of very thick and strong annulus fibrosus. This annulus fibrosus provides strength and durability while protecting the moisture of the underlying nearby nucleus. The interior portion of the spinal disc is soft, pliable and gelatinous, and called the nucleus pulposus. The nucleus provides moisture, flexibility and does the shock absorption for the back.
During the course of any given day, the moisture starts out at its maximum, and declines in the disc from movement, such as flexing, bending, and just pressure. Overnight the body renews the moisture. A herniated disc encompasses everything from bulged or ruptured vertebrae that may have their changed shape or position within the spinal column.
A herniated disc that remains intact are also called protruding, slipped, prolapsed, or bulging discs. A disc that has ripped open is known as having an annular tear or is also called a ruptured disc. Sometimes the nucleus’s contents spill right into the body, which is known as an extruded or a sequestered disc. Most people who are suffering from any of these may not know all of these details and the differentiation among the different types of herniated discs. Though, as you can see here, they are vastly different.
What Causes Herniated Discs?
A normal degenerative process within the spine causes herniated discs. Some of the aging process cause liquid to come out of the discs or to not be renewed any longer. This drying out process often causes the discs to dry out, which may also cause them to shrink as a byproduct. All people experience this process, and it is normal. Though, for the majority of people there are no symptoms, signs, or problems that are caused by it.
What does facilitate disc herniation is the dehydration of discs, which causes the nucleus to shrink down into a smaller sized matter. It results in an imbalance of the pressure on the disc and encourages the growth of bone spurs, called osteophytes, that can also wear on the discs too.
Disc changes will often result in bulges or ruptures because of a loss of the structural integrity. Most of this type of disc problem is asymptomatic and shows no sign to the individual unless they were to undergo a spinal imaging for another reason.
A herniation may occur as a result of a traumatic force onto the spinal column. If the disc is already healthy, and experiences a greater force, it will cause more pain generally. Most herniated discs are not discovered until after an accident occurs.
Though, the bulge or rupture may have pre-dated the accident. Often though the herniated disc is actually counted among the injuries suffered as a result of an accident. The disc problem may have occurred years, months, or weeks prior to the accident. To learn more about this article, please visit Pain Management San Antonio.
The question still remains why a herniated disc hurts if the vertebrae do not contain any nerves. Actually, most herniated discs do not hurt at all.
A degeneration-induced hernia is often asymptomatic. The herniations that occur from a trauma might hurt for a long time. For the most part, a hernia that causes pain tends to stop hurting typically anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks after the inciting incident occurs.
Back pain is something most people can relate to as are herniated discs. The precise connection between the two is not actually established. Many people have tremendous pain in their back and have no herniations at all. Other people have many herniated discs but experience no pain at all with the condition.