The intervertebral discs are the shock absorbers of our spine. The total of 23 discs between our intervertebral bodies serve to cushion strong impacts placed on our spine. Every intervertebral disc consists of two parts: a hard, outer ring of fibrocartilage and a soft gelatinous core.
Modern MRI is extremely precise and allows us to assess the condition of the intervertebral discs very well.
Intervertebral Disc Degeneration
During our lives, the gelatinous core of the disc loses fluids when strongly used. Elasticity and volume are lost, and which affect the biomechanics of the spine negatively. This is known as “degenerative osteochondrosis”. It also negatively affects the adjacent vertebral bodies, the joint connectors and the ligaments. The patient is sensitive to pain, especially in the morning after getting up – so called “warm-up pain”.
When an intervertebral disc loses its elasticity, it deforms under pressure from one side – for example by a curved posture. Then, the fibrous ring of the intervertebral disc may stretch or tear. This results in a disc protrusion (buldging).
Please note: the degeneration cannot be reversed, it can only be avoided. Targeted
physiotherapeutic exercises and changes in our movement behavior can often help to slow down or stop the degeneration. You can find some tips for having a healthy back here.