What Is a Spinal Injury?
The column of vertebrae that composes your spine is identified based on location.
- Cervical vertebrae are in your upper spine and neck.
- Thoracic vertebrae are in your middle spine and back.
- Lumbar vertebrae are in your lower spine and back.
- The sacrum and coccyx are fused bones at the bottom of the spinal column.
Vertebrae are separated by round, spongy pads of cartilage called disks. Disks function like shock absorbers throughout your spinal column and cushion your vertebrae with movement. They contract with downward pressure and expand when your back stretches. The analus fibrosus is a tough outer portion which surrounds the nucleus pulposus, a soft inner gel material. These disks and the space between the bones that they fill give the lower back flexibility.
Damage to the disk can cause the soft rubbery centre to bulge out of the outer layer. This spinal injury is called a herniated disc. If the expanding center presses on nearby nerves, the herniated disc can cause severe pain. A tear in tough outer portion of the disk is called an annular tear.