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Spinal discs have a three-fold function: holding the spine together, working as shock absorbers, and balancing the spine. The spine consists of 23 discs, 17 of which are responsible for controlling movement in the lumbar and cervical regions of the back. When these discs are damaged, the results can be grave, and include herniation, bulging, rupture, protrusion, or degeneration.
In terms of back pain, disc damage may not always indicate the amount of physical trauma. For example, a muscle spasm may induce endless pain whereas a herniated disc can be painless. Since discs are located in such a nerve-sensitive area, precise pain levels are rarely good indicators of damage.
To identify disc damage, it is necessary to perform radiographic tests to determine the type of injury. Following diagnosis, patients need to receive prompt and effective back pain information and treatment from a professional.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|