What is An Extruded Disc?
Before providing you information on an extruded disc, it might be of assistance to most if we provide basic definitions for some of the terminology we will use. So, we shall start by describing and defining the basic anatomy of the spine and spinal disc.
Spine: The spine, also called the spinal column or the vertebral column, is a stack of 26 independent bones separated by 24 spinal discs. The seven bones in the neck, twelve bones in the upper to mid-back, and five in the lower back form the 25 vertebras. The last one is the tailbone, formed by the sacrum and coccyx.
Spinal Discs: The spinal disc is the connector of spinal bones, shock absorbers, and spacers between spinal bones the enable motion and help bear the body’s weight. The spinal disc has three main components:
- Annular Ligament, Annulus Fibrosus or Annular Fibers
- Nucleolus Pulposus or Nucleolus
- Vertebral End-Pates
Definitions Of Descriptive Terms Used In Spinal Disc Disorders
- Annular Ligament or Annular Fibers: The Annular Ligament, better known as the Annulus Fibrosus, is the circular outer fibers of the spinal disc that corrals and maintain the nucleus in the center. They are also called the annular ligament as they attach spinal bones. On average, about 25 concentric rings of these ligaments crisscross each other at about a 120-degree angle, giving the annular ligament its strength and resilience.
- Nucleolus Pulposus: The Nucleus, as the name applies, is the innermost component of the spinal disc. It is much softer than the annular ligament, resembling a jelly-like material. The Nucleolus pulposus is the main part of the spinal disc. It bears the weight and provides smooth spinal movements when in the proper position.
- Vertebral End-Pates: The end plates are the interface between the hard boney surfaces of the spinal bones and spinal discs. The End-pate serves as a point of attachment between vertebrae and disc, but more importantly, as nutrients supplier from the vertebrae to the avascular spinal discs.
What Is An Extruded Spinal Disc?
An extruded disc is a severe form of a herniated disc (slipped disc or slip-disc), which involves a cephalic or caudal extension of the disc. In other words, the extruded nucleus pulposus extends above or below the disc level as a result of tears in the annular fiber. A degenerated disc is always present in a herniated disc, protruded disc, prolapsed disc, and extruded disc. However, in an extruded disc, there will also tear in the annular fibers. The annular fibers are the support structures of a disc that maintain the nucleus pulposus in the center. Annular tears result from degenerative changes, predisposing them to tears. Once the annular ligament tears, the nucleus shifts from the center to the periphery.
A spinal disc with torn annular fibers is weaker and more likely to fail when extra pressure. Prolonged sitting, repeated bending, or twisting at the waist, or even sneezing or coughing can cause the nucleus pulpous to slip, herniate or extrude backward. When a disc fails, the center gel-like nucleus pulposus will extrude backward, and the annular fibers will not be able to contain the extruded disc materials.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Disc Extrusion?
The symptoms of disc extrusion depend on the site of involvement. In other words, if the disc extrusion is in the neck, you may experience neck pain, upper back pain, pain at the shoulder blades, shoulder pain, arm pain, and even wrist or hand pain. Patients with an extruded disc in their neck can expect some degree of numbness, burning, and tingling in the upper back, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, and fingers. Furthermore, some may even experience weakness in the shoulder, arm, wrist, and hands. Those diagnosed with an extruded disc in the lower back or the lumbar spine can expect similar symptoms to sciatica. In other words, back pain, pain in the buttocks, hip pain, thigh pain, leg pain, and ankle pain. Some will complain of cramp-like sensations in one or both lower extremities.
Similar to the low back patients, the neck extruded disc patients will have some degree of numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in the shoulders, upper back, arms, wrists, hands, and finger. In both instances, the neck and lower back disc extrusions can cause weakness in the arms and legs. Therefore the need for targeted treatments is critical to address the root causes. Paralysis of the arms and legs can also happen with advancing conditions. Furthermore, in some cases, there may be some degree of bowel and bladder inconveniences.
What Caused The Pain Of Your Extruded Disc?
Disc extrusion symptoms the result of pressure that an extruded disc applies to the spinal cord or spinal nerve. In other words, extruded discs lead to pinched nerves. Often, it is similar to different types of disc herniation, varying from person to person. The severity of symptoms usually depends on the severity of nerve roots compression.
The most common presenting symptom of patients with an extruded disc is the presence of pain. The pain may be present in the spine or extremities. However, it is not uncommon to have disc extrusion in the lower back and neck with no pain in the lower back or neck itself. Some may only complain of numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in extremities.
How Serious Are Spinal Disc Extrusions?
Extruded discs are serious conditions that can cause paralysis of arms, legs. It can cause the loss of bowel and bladder control and lead to impotence in males. An extruded spinal disc, in essence, is severe damage; it causes an inflammatory process within the damaged tissue of the spinal disc and even spinal joints.
If the inflammatory process is not adequately treated or neglected for a period, it can further damage the surrounding soft tissues. Therefore, the acute inflammatory process must be treated immediately so that our body can move into the healing stage. So, the need for thorough assessments is critical to successful non-surgical repair and recovery.
Our physiotherapy and chiropractic methods of treatment for the extruded disc are better compared to what others offer. We are not aware of other centers that have authenticated methods of extruded disc treatments. You can learn more about our efficacy in treating an extruded disc when you visit our proven slipped disc treatment methods page.
Spinal disc damage is a progressive disorder. In other words, it is a condition that progressively worsens over time. For some, it could take months or years, while others have progressed to sinister forms of disc damage in a matter of days. In short, care must be taken to prevent progression. We have provided some of the don’ts for you below:
- Twisting of the neck or back must be avoided, as it will further damage annular fibers.
- Bending of the neck and back should also be avoided as this may increase the intradiscal pressure and worsen the disc extrusion.
- Avoid tilting back, as backward bending the neck or lower back causes impingement of the spinal disc fibers and the exiting spinal nerves.
- Avoid prolonged sitting
- Do not lift or carry items that weigh more than 2kgs.
Should You Opt For Spine Surgery?
Spine surgery should always be the last option. Researchers agree that spine surgery brings about mechanical changes altering the spine. Some of the biomechanical changes will impact healthier segments.
Far too many cases were published where spine surgery on an extruded disc segment led to spinal disc issues in otherwise healthy segments above or below the surgical site. Nucleoplasty and spinal fusions have the worse outlooks.
A recently published medical research reported a spinal fusion failure rate at 74%. In separate research, researchers published the results of fake and real nucleoplasty procedures. The researchers reported the fake surgery to have better results than the real nucleoplasty. In short, if you have an extruded disc, seek our clinical teams. Your chances of long-term improvement are much higher with our non-surgical methods of spine care.
Patients presenting with an extruded spinal disc often have co-condition!
For a spinal disc to bulge, herniate, extrude or fragment, other structures also suffer. Aside from muscular issues (muscle spasms), spinal disc degenerative changes and changes in spinal joints are common occurrences in patients with slipped discs. Spinal joint degenerative changes are termed facet hypertrophy. Facet hypertrophy is descriptive of arthritic and degenerative changes (bone spurs) that are all too common in extruded disc patients.
Another condition commonly seen with spinal disc extrusion is canal stenosis. The most common cause of canal stenosis is hypertrophy of ligamentum flavum. In almost every spinal disc extrusion case, there are varying degrees of thickening or hypertrophy of ligamentum flavum. These co-conditions are the primary reason why spine surgery fails. In short, spinal disc herniations and extrusion are too complex to solve by cutting tissues or bones.
What Is The Best Non-Surgical Treatment Option For A Disc Extrusion?
We hope the information presented here on the extruded disc was helpful. We encourage you to call one of our centers and learn about your non-surgical options. Hospitals and surgeons recommend spine surgery for the extruded disc. Some erroneously tell patients that slipped discs are not reversible, repaired unless they opt for spine surgery! Well, we have proven them wrong through pre-and post-treatment MRI on several occasions.
To date, the best means of correcting an extruded disc is through targeted methods rendered through our clinical teams. As mentioned, spinal disc damage presents with co-conditions that also require treatments. The best non-surgical treatment for a slipped disc or extruded spinal discs is NSD Therapy®.
NSD Therapy® is a multiprong non-surgical method of spinal decompression that targets spine joints, spinal discs, spinal muscles, and ligaments collectively in a comprehensive manner. If you have an extruded disc, the chances of having issues with other spinal segments are near 100%. While spine surgery concentrates on one, two, or three segments, NSD Therapy® focuses on the entire region. In short, it is your best hope for long-term relief.
To conclude, we can fix a slipped disc, even an extruded one. We have the skills, knowledge, and breakthrough technology specific to the spine. The to-go-to method of non-invasive treatment for spinal disc damage such as an extruded disc is NSD Therapy®.