Discs are located between the vertebrae (bones of the spine) and act as shock absorbers for the spine. The outer disc wall, known as the annulus fibrosis, surrounds a jelly-like center known as the nucleus pulposus. Through years of wear and tear, constant vibration or pounding, a slip and fall, coughing or sneezing, lifting and twisting or simply bending to pick up a piece of paper can cause a weakening of the disc wall and cause a bulge or tear which presses on surrounding nerves. This is a condition in which part or all of the soft, gelatinous central portion (nucleus pulposus) of an intervertebral disc is forced through a weakened part of the annulus fibrosis portion of the disc – resulting in back pain and nerve root irritation.
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