Get Familiar with the Anatomy of Your Spinal Discs
The human spine is a unique, interesting biological structure. The spinal column represents the main communications system of the body’s central nervous system, sending signals to and from the brain.
When people experience problems related to their spinal column, it can cause serious, life-altering symptoms. Chronic pain, a reduced range of motion and muscle degeneration are all just some of the symptoms associated with spine-related issues. They’re also some of the most common ailments ChiroSolutions Center treats when helping our Virginia Beach patients.
Understanding the makeup of spinal discs
It’s important to understand the different components of your spine and nervous system, including spinal discs. Core knowledge of how your spine is structured will help you understand specific spine-related health concerns you may be facing.
Spinal discs are cartilage joints connecting the vertebrae of the spine itself, while allowing for a limited range of motion and flexibility. Spinal discs allow people to move and flex their back. They also act as shock absorbers between vertebrae, protecting the health of the bones and the spinal column.
The spinal disc is comprised of two distinct components. The annulus fibrosis, and the nucleus pulposus. The annulus fibrosis is a tough exterior composed of layered sheets of collagen. This hard exterior protects the nucleus pulposus, which consists of fibers loosely suspended in gel.
How the spinal disc ages
At birth, the average human spinal disc is 80 percent water. It’s essential discs remain well-hydrated throughout life. Because the spinal discs are responsible for carrying much of the body’s weight, they need to remain full of fluid, so they’re able to retain their size, shape, and flexibility at all times.
As people age, it’s common for their spinal discs to lose hydration. This causes the discs to shrink and become stiffer. This is called disc degeneration – while it’s a natural part of the aging process, it can begin earlier in some people than others, and it can also cause more severe and extreme side-effects for some people. This is called degenerative disc disease (DDD).
Spinal discs don’t have a blood supply, which means they aren’t able to heal and regenerate the way muscles and organs are. Damage caused to spinal discs can result in symptoms lasting years if left untreated.
Caring for spinal discs
While all spinal discs will eventually dehydrate and shrink with age, there are steps you can take to slow the aging process and help you maintain good spinal disc health.
Exercising and stretching regularly, for instance, can reduce the amount of pressure placed on discs and redistribute weight more evenly. Maintaining a healthy weight will also reduce the strain your discs undergo.
Additionally, do everything possible to avoid dehydration. Drink water throughout the day, and keep alcohol consumption moderate. Eating healthy, vitamin-rich foods will also help you improve your body’s moisture retention.
ChiroSolutions Center specializes in the care of spinal discs for Virginia Beach patients with degenerative disc conditions. We offer a holistic approach to spinal healthcare, including chiropractic care, nutrition counseling, weight loss assistance and more – all anchored by our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach to delivering care. Contact us to learn about ways we can help you maintain your spinal health.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.