Well here at The Bad Back Company we are fully aware that lots of medical terms can sound intimidating but most of the time things really aren’t as bad as they might sound.
We want to clear up any confusion and give you a simple, clear and thorough explanation of your spine, where those L4 and L5 discs are, what the thoracic spine is, are my discs really crumbling and hopefully everything else we think you would like to know.
Anatomy of your spine (simplified)
The spine is broken down into 5 sections; Cervical (your neck), Thoracic aka Dorsal (your upper back), Lumbar (your lower back), Sacrum (part of the pelvis) and Coccyx (your redundant tailbone). Each section of your spine has different features which dictate the functionality and movement of the region. Each vertebrae in your spine is referred to by a number prefixed by a letter. The number starts at 1 being the upper most vertebrae in that section or group and the ‘letter’ represents the area of the spine, e.g. C7 means Cervical spine vertebrae number 7. Remember that the middle part of your spine can be referred to as the ‘T’ thoracic or ‘D’ dorsal spine followed by a number.
Each vertebrae has two facets which form an articulation (movement) with the adjoining facets of adjacent vertebrae. These adjacent facets form what are known as facet joints which may
The vertebrae in your cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine are separated by intervertebral discs and these act as mini shock absorbers.
Intervertebral Discs: What are ‘slipped discs’
Intervertebral discs are located between vertebrae. Discs consist of a two main parts
The inside is called the Nucleus Propulsus. This is the gel like material that acts as the main cushion / shock absorber whilst also providing stabilisation for the adjacent vertebrae and facet joints. It is the degeneration and or loss of the gel in the centre of the disc that is often medically reported as degenerative disc disease, DDD.
The outside is called the Annulus Fibrosis and this acts as a very tough surround for the disc helping to keep the disc shape and contents safe. When the tough outer wall of the disc becomes damaged and or weakens then this may allow the disc to bulge or prolapse in response to a heavy lift or strain for example. A prolapsed disc may also be referred to as a herniated or slipped disc. It is when the disc bulges that the disc may then press on adjacent nerves and this may result is severe pain. When a disc presses of nerves in the lumbar spine for example this may cause leg pain such as sciatica.
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