Why Spinal Discs Go “BAD”

Why Spinal Discs Go Bad

Spinal discs, or spinal disks, are known as “shock absorbers” for the spine.  They protect the vertebrae from cracking against the normal forces of gravity and body movements and create an opening for the spinal nerves to exit the spinal cord and enter into the body.

Disc have a pressurized core, known as the nucleus that is contained by bands of fiber, known as the annulus.

When viewed from the top, the disc looks much like a jelly-filled doughnut and the fibrous bands which contain the jelly-like core are wrapped around it like the rings of an onion.  Healthy discs give you flexibility, allowing normal movements of the body.  This movement produces a pumping action that supplies proper disc nutrition.

However, long-term spinal misalignments and postural distortions can prevent adequate amounts of nutrients from entering into the disc, allowing it to decay into various types of disc challenges.

Living Tissues Needing Fed

From the time we’re approximately 12 years old, the blood vessels which supply the discs with nutrient rich blood dry up and disappear.  No one knows why.   This leaves the spinal discs as the only structures in the body without a blood supply to provide nutrients and oxygen.

Like A Sponge In A Bucket Of Water

After these blood vessels disappear that provide the spinal discs with nutrients, the disc receive their nutrients through a process known as imbibation – or infusion.  Imbibation can best be described as being like the squeeze-release motion of a sponge in a bucket of water.  One motions squeezes out the waste products, and releasing of that squeeze allows new fluids to come in.

Each time our spines bend, twist, or turn, this motion pumps nutrients into the disc between the vertebra, much like an old-fashioned hand water pump, where we pump the handle and the water comes to the surface and when we stop, the water stops flowing.  Normally, this function takes place in our spines without interruption, verified by the fact that most people have many more healthy disc than bad ones.

But Here Comes The Problem……

When two or more vertebra become stuck (fixated) together due to misalignments or distorted postural curves, the disc between the vertebra that are locked do not receive adequate motion enough to ‘pump’ the nutrients into them.

As this process continues, the disc tissues become weak and dry out, much like a child leaving the lid off a can of play dough.  Then, rather than being soft and pliable, the discs become dry and hardened; and subject to chipping, cracking, bulging and degeneration.

Once the process of poor disc nutrition has been going on long enough (usually years in most people), the inner contents of the disc either bulge or break through the outer wall and compress the nerves coming off your spine resulting in pain.

Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with age, but is due primarily to lack of spinal maintenance.

Few Warning Signs

During the early phases of disc destruction, there are seldom any warning signs.  Because the spine contains many joints, few people recognize small losses in range of motion.  This is dangerous because the disease process occurs and continues without any warning signs at all.

As the process develops further, many people experience warning signs of mild to moderate back or neck pain, which are usually ignored, because after all, “everyone has a little back or neck pain from time to time.”

As the disc become weaker and weaker, a common lift, twist or turn – or something so simple as picking a pencil off the floor can result in a pain crisis.

By the time this takes place, the disc are well on their way to creating a major problem.  Of course, this wouldn’t have happened had the disc not been predisposed to injury in the first place.

Proper Attention Essential

The key to preventing a disc disaster, or to provide the best chance of reestablishing a healthy disc once it has entered into crisis, is to restore proper joint motion in order that the flow of nutrients into the disc can resume.  Only by doing this does an individual have a chance of overcoming the problem and avoiding a catastrophe that results in the unpredictable results of spinal surgery.

If you are experiencing the warning signs of advancing back or neck pain, you are encouraged not to ignore them.  It’s always easier to prevent a problem rather than correct one.

For a complete article about spinal disc problems and non-surgical disc decompression therapy, please go to http://www.drjackadrian.com

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.   He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.

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