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Torn disc in spine

Each disk has a centre called the nucleus pulposus. This nucleus is surrounded by a hard and fibrous outer layer called fibrous ring, formed by concentric bands of elastic fibres firmly adhered and oriented in various directions, which are firmly fixed to the upper and lower platforms of the overlying and underlying vertebrae. The external fibres have greater resistance than the internal fibres because at the edge of the platform they are integrated into the bone tissue of the vertebral body.
These discs can be damaged or broken due to trauma or exertion, which would cause compression of the spinal nerves and cause pain, numbness or weakness.

Origin of slipped discs

The rupture of the fibrous ring is preceded by an intradiscal fragmentation, which is the trigger mechanism. The structural deterioration of the disc begins at the beginning of adult life with dehydration, intradiscal fissures, fragmentation and subsequently the rupture of the ring from the innermost to the outer layers. The end result is a complete tear of the ring, and sometimes, of the herniated disc material. During this stage, the patient may have some symptoms, but since the inside of the disc is poorly innervated, the process of fragmentation and fissure formation is practically asymptomatic. When the outer ring, which is the innervated portion of the disc is affected, the pain becomes part of the problem.
When the disc is herniated, the pressure received by the ring is transferred to the nerve root and, in most cases, this situation causes root pain. At other times, when the ring breaks completely and the disc fragment invades the spinal canal, the stiffness improves but the radicular pain intensifies. However, the process of fragmentation, fissure and herniation is not always going to occur with pain or radiculitis.

 

Symptoms

The protrusion or exit of the nucleus pulposus of the disc that contains it causes a set of signs and symptoms depending on the segment of the column that is affected.
Not all herniated discs are necessarily symptomatic, the presence or absence of symptoms depends on the size, location and extent of the herniated disc material in relation to the spinal canal, as well as the involvement or not of nerve roots.

Lumbar disc herniation

Symptoms of lumbar disc herniation include pain that extends to the buttocks, legs and feet (called sciatica), may be accompanied by tingling or numbness in the legs or feet and muscle weakness.

 

Cervical hernia

In the involvement of the cervical region, patients report symptoms such as pain in the neck, shoulders, forearm or hand, tingling, pressure, lack of sensation in the fingers, and sometimes headaches and dizziness.

 

Dorsal region hernia

Patients with a condition in the dorsal region may report other symptoms, among which the following stand out back pain, tingling in the trunk, genitals or lower limbs, lack of strength and changes in touch in the lower limbs, abnormal urination or defecation, as well as changes in sexual activity.

 

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