Thank you for joining me again this evening for our nightly podcasts. I perform these podcasts in the hopes that you will be able to education yourself on the topics discussed so you can make better informed medical decisions regarding your health in the future. I am doctor Harrison Campbell of Restoration Health a premier sugar land chiropractors office. Previously we discussed pain and the choice we need to make not to simply ignore or mask this vital clue. Tonight, we will be discussing disc herniations in depth.
A disc herniation as sugar land chiropractors call them have many terms by which people call them. The most prevalent of these is either slipped disc or a disc bulge. No first and foremost the primary reason I do not use the term slipped disc is the term misconstrues what the condition actually is. At no point does the intervertebral disc slip out of place or move in any way. What occurs in a disc herniation is tearing of fibrocartilage which weakens the structure of the disc. Due to this misnomer I prefer to use the term disc herniation instead of slipped disc. That being said you may hear people refer to the condition as slipped disc.
As for the term disc bulge is term falls more closely in line with what is happening, but I feel it does not convey the proper amount of severity when compared to the term disc herniation. A bulge makes the condition seem not quite harmless but definitely more subdued.
Now, we can move into describing the anatomy of the disc and then move to what occurs to this anatomy when there is a disc herniation present. The intervertebral disc is formed of two main components. There is the outer shell and the inner core. The outer shell is composed of fibrocartilage as stated before. This fibrocartilage is a very tough but flexible tissue. The inner core is composed of a jelly like substance which hydrates and nourishes the disc and provides shock absorption for the spine.
Now sugar land chiropractors know the outer shell is called the annulus fibrosus and the inner core is called the nucleus pulposus. For the nature of this discussion however we will continue to use the terms outer shell and inner core to avoid any nomenclature confusion. Now the fibers of the outer shell are not aligned in true rings around the discs. They are arranged in what is called a cross-weave pattern. A good analogy would be a whicker basket with the fibers woven together. This is important because the cross-weave pattern allows the disc to bend and twist, to be flexible, which provides us the flexibility we enjoy with our spine. The cross-weave pattern is important to remember because it will play a roll in the disc herniation we will discuss shortly.
The inner core as stated is a jelly like substance. Now to avoid a deep dive in physics we will briefly cover this. When you have a fluid, or a semifluid such as this gel, with a force applied to it, the gel pushes out equally in all directions. Now sugar land chiropractors know this is what happens to a normal disc with our body weight and gravity pushing down on it. Now with a healthy outer shell in place this gel pushes against the shell and the disc does not deform, again due to the outer shell being health. During a disc herniation where the shell is damaged, we get a different result which we will describe in just a minute.
Let us move to the physical and anatomical happenings in a disc herniation. As stated before there are tears which happen in the outer shell. These tears as sugar land chiropractors can tell you weaken the wall which allows the forces being exerted by the gel to push outward creating an outpouching or bulge. Now remember the force from the inner core comes from gravity and body weight pushing down on the disc forcing the gel to move outwards. Depending on the severity of the tears in the outer shell will determine the severity of the bulge or if the inner core can leak through the shell and out into the body.
Now the tears in the outer shell can occur due to a number of different injury scenarios, but the quote unquote textbook scenario people talk about is bending and twisting. This goes back to the cross weave fibers we discussed earlier. When we bend we load the posterior portion of the outer shell of the disc, and sugar land chiropractors can tell you this happens to be some of the thinner parts of the shell and therefore the weaker aspect of the shell. When we twist, we unwind half of the cross-weave fibers. Think of a braided rope being twisted back on the braid, the fibers separate. This is what happens to the cross-weave fibrocartilage. Now if you bend while twisting we load the fibers, but this time the twisting has unwound half of the fibers creating a scenario where half the tissue is performing one hundred percent of the work. The fibers carrying the load fail, and when we say fail, we mean they tear.
Once these fibers tear we get inflammation due to the injured tissue, meaning the fibrocartilage. We also get a disc herniation occurring due to a weakening of the outer shell. This herniation as sugar land chiropractors can tell you will impinge on the nerve roots which sit just posterior to the intervertebral disc. These nerve roots when irritated produce pain in a condition known as neuralgia.
Thank you for joining me again this evening for another great podcast. I hope you enjoyed the discussion on (blank). As always should you or someone you know require a sugar land chiropractors services or simply have more questions on what was discussed please call Restoration Health today. We would love to schedule you an appointment and get you on the path to better health today. Thank you once again for joining us. Have a good night.