What are Spinal Discs Made of?
We’ve all heard of spinal discs… but what are they made of?
We all know spinal discs are important — but to understand why, the real question is… what are they made of?
Simply put, your spinal discs are the little cushions that sit between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine.
Each disc is made up of a tough, fibrous outer layer (annulus fibrosis) and a jelly-like inner layer (nucleus pulposus). The tough outer layer contains and protects the softer inside layer.
These small discs have a big job.
They enable your spine to move in all directions.
Why it Matters:
Your spinal column has 24 moveable bones with spinal discs between each pair. Each disc acts like a small swivel to allow your body to tilt and rotate.
A disc’s inner layer is mostly made up of water, and that high water content helps keep it supple and moveable. However, as you get older, your discs tend to lose their high water content, which can lead to degeneration.
Degenerative discs don’t move as well, are more prone to cause pain, and even contribute to the compression of your spinal nerves.
Movement is one of the best ways to keep your spinal discs healthy.
Since the spinal discs don’t have a particularly good blood supply, movement is how they bring in nutrients. Those nutrients help the discs stay healthy and push out waste that can contribute to pain and inflammation.
If your neck or back hurts, let us know! We’ll help get your spinals discs moving and working together better so you get your life back from pain!
Types of Spinal Disc Problems
Discover the different types of spinal disc problems and what you can do to find relief.
If you’ve had a spinal disc problem, you know how painful it can be.
Every movement seems to hurt, and it can feel like you’ll never be back to your old self.
That pain is the body’s way of signaling you to “Pay Attention Inside Now” — it’s a warning sign from your body. It’s your body’s way of letting you know it’s been pushed past its limits.
However, with the proper care and a little time, you can get your life back.
Why it Matters:
The most common type of spinal disc problem is called a bulge or herniation, and these injuries most commonly occur between 45-65 years of age when discs are naturally more dehydrated and stiffer.
A disc bulge or herniation occurs when a disc’s inner portion is trying to (or has) pushed through its tough outer layer.
When this happens, it can cause pain in two different ways.
- If the disc bulges far enough to press on a spinal nerve, you may notice pain that travels down your arms or legs.
- If the inside of your disc pushes through the outer layer, it could also cause severe inflammation resulting in pain.
The good news is that your spine is incredibly resilient.
Research has proven that movement-based care, such as spinal adjustments and spinal rehab, are incredibly effective at helping you heal from spinal disc injuries. In fact, exercises that “centralize” your spinal disc may be able to prevent future episodes of sciatica.
If you have spinal pain or pain that travels down your arm or leg, let us know. Our practice focuses on using the latest research-based treatments to help you heal, improve, and regain your quality of life.
How to Strengthen Your Spinal Discs
Strengthening your spinal discs isn’t hard if you have a plan. Discover how we recommend our patients strengthen their spinal discs in this article.
No one wants to deal with back pain.
Whether you’re living with pain today or looking to reduce your risk of injury in the future, you may be curious about how you can strengthen your spine.
When it comes to strengthening spinal discs, it’s wise to start with the body’s core — the set of muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support your spinal column and help your spinal discs move.
Why it Matters:
Your core needs to have a balance of strength and flexibility to perform at its best.
A strong core allows your body to have the support it needs to move, bend, and twist without causing injuries, and a flexible core is crucial to allowing the body to move well and through a full range of motion.
Together, these physical qualities help you keep your spinal discs healthy, just like movement-based care such as the adjustments we provide.
- Core exercises can help your back maintain a balance of strength and flexibility.
- Movement of the spine promotes the delivery of nutrients to the spinal discs.
- Spinal adjustments can improve your range of motion and help to decrease pain.
It’s been said that we don’t get old and stiff, we get stiff then old.
It’s much easier to keep your spine moving than to get your spine moving, and our practice is here to help you stay active, healthy, and happy.
Reach out to us today to schedule a visit to assess your movement and create a plan of action to keep you pain-free and at the top of your game.
Keeping Your Spinal Discs Healthy
Maintaining your spinal disc health is an important part of living a life free from pain. Here is a quick list of our best recommendations.
Ain’t no one got time for back pain!
Proactively doing things today to help your spinal discs stay healthy in the future is a smart idea.
Every day, your spinal discs absorb stress related to gravity, your posture, and your movement patterns. Over time, this stress can cause wear and tear to your discs that can become painful.
The good news? There are a few key ways you can keep your discs healthy… starting today!
Why it Matters:
Not surprisingly, movement and exercise are the top ways to keep your spinal discs healthy.
Each day try to move your spine through its full range of motion and be cautious about sitting for hours on end.
If you have to sit for long periods, try to change positions every 15 minutes. If you have to work at a computer for hours at a time and you have the option, bring in a standing desk. These small steps can help both reduce stress on your discs and engage the small muscles supporting your spine – both of which are essential for disc health.
Also, mind your posture. The combination of inactivity and long periods in an unbalanced posture can wreak havoc on your spinal discs.
Keeping your spinal discs healthy is one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of experiencing neck or back pain.
If you spend long hours at the computer especially, you need to take proactive steps to counteract that stress.
We’d be happy to work with you on a plan to keep your spinal discs healthy for years to come. Just shoot us a message or give us a call!