Back Facts & Myths

Intervertebral Facts:

There are 23 discs in the spine. Each disc separates the vertebral bodies in the spine. The space between each of the spinal bones allows a nerve to travel from the right and left side of the spine. Maintaining the disc’s original height allows the nerve to function at its proper capacity.

Disc Degeneration Facts:

Disc degeneration is also known as Degenerative Joint Disease(DJD).  DJD is not a disease, it is a by-product of not maintaining a disc and over-using your spine.  Disc degeneration occurs after years of damage and excessive wear. Disc degeneration can be grouped into three categories and usually occurs in the following areas:  L4/L5, L5/S1, C5/C6 or C6/C7.

Disc Myths:

    • My Disc Slipped – The disc is unable to slip. When a person experiencing extreme pain, the disc has probably herniated or has a severe bulge that presses a nerve. The nerve being pinched causes pain, the disc cannot.
    • My Surgery Fixed My Disc – If the disc was herniated, the surgery will remove the portion which was pressing the nerve. Removal of that portion of the disc will help alleviate the pain. If surgery was performed and disc material removed, it is imperative to maintain the disc so it does not continue to break down any further.
    • I don’t have pain so my disc is good! – The disc will break down without any symptoms at all. It is similar to a tooth with a cavity. The cavity forms, but if it doesn’t hit the nerve, you will never know it is happening. The disc breakdown occurs in the same manner. The disc will break down for 10, 15, 20 + years and as long as it does not press upon the nerve, the patient will never know. Pain is the last symptom to occur.

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