disc

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Term Definition
disc

A spinal disc is located between two vertebrae and provides cushioning between the bones. A disc allows slight movement of the vertebrae, and acts as a ligament to hold the vertebrae together. The role as discs as shock absorbers in the spine is crucial.

 

 

A spinal disc is located between two vertebrae and provides cushioning between the bones. A disc allows slight movement of the vertebrae, and acts as a ligament to hold the vertebrae together. The role as discs as shock absorbers in the spine is crucial.

Discs are shapely oval shaped, with a strong fibrous outer ring of fibrocartilage (light grey in diagram) and an inner gel centre (dark grey), called the nucleus puplosus.

Intervertebral Disk

There are 23 discs in the human spine: 6 in the neck (cervical region), 12 in the middle back (thoracic region), and 5 in the lower back (lumbar region). Only the atlas does not have a disc.

Damage to vertebral discs are an often cited reason for neck or back pain. Current research with MRI and CT scanning technology is showing that disc bulges and tears are often apparent in people without pain. Dr. Buna suggests that this means disc problems are not the only cause of back and neck pain.