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The intervertebral discs lie between the spinal bones and act like shock absorbers, preventing the bones from painfully rubbing together. They are made up of a tough fibrous outer ring (annular fibrosis) and a gel-like center (nucleus pulposus).
Your 23 spinal discs help give your spine its curves (a curved spine is sixteen times stronger than a straight one) and also join the vertebrae together. Discs contribute to your height, in the morning you are about 1/4-1/2" taller than you were the night before because your discs thin a little during the day and expand a little while you sleep.
Surprisingly, the disc may start showing signs of wear and tear as early as age 15. As you age, the disc may lose fluid and small cracks (lesions) form in the outer walls. This aging may be accelerated by the vertebral subluxation complex, a spinal distortion chiropractors correct. If the nucleus pulposus begins to push the annular fibrosis a little out of shape, it's called a herniation. If the herniation causes the disc to bulge a little, it's called a protrusion. If the disc bulge goes into the spinal cord or puts extreme pressure on the lumbar nerves, it is a disc prolapse. A prolapse may cause such severe pain that sitting, standing, walking or lifting could be impossible. Other symptoms can include pain when urinating, defecating, sneezing and coughing; numbness of the leg or foot or a loss of muscular control may also occur.
Treatment of disc injuries can be numerous in options and techniques. Dr. Fisher has been trained to use a specialized table called a flexion/distraction table to treat primarily lower thoracic and lumbar disc injuries from mild bulges to severe protrusions. He also utilizes a tool called a Vertebral Distraction Pump(VDP) for treatment of cervical and lumbar disc injuries. These two techniques are safe and effective for the use of successfully treating disc injuries both chronic and acute.