Disc Injuries & Sciatica Cause and Treatment
The spine is made of bones (vertebrae) that are separated by discs. These discs have a number of important tasks to perform including;
- Absorbing the loads of walking, sitting and twisting
- Permitting the vertebrae to move on top of each other so that we can turn, reach and bend
- Create a space between each vertebrae to give the height required for the nerves to leave the spinal cord at each disc and innervate the body
The disc itself is soft in the middle and surrounded by a tough outer ring and is sometimes likened to camembert cheese with its firm outer and soft inner areas. There are 7 discs in the neck (cervical), 12 in the chest (thoracic) and 5 in the lower back (lumbar).
Any one of these discs can become a problem. The most common disc injury location for people 25-55 years is in the lower back between vertebrae L4 and L5 and between L5 and S1. Disc injuries above this level are more common for people over 55 years. The most likely age to get a disc injury is between 30 and 50 with males getting the injury at a ratio of 2:1 compared with women.