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 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 that are 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 weight of the body. 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 are 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 to one another. On the average, there are about 25 concentric rings of these ligaments crisscrossing 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 is torn, 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 an Extruded Disc?
The symptoms of disc extrusion depend on site of involvement. In other words, of 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. Also, 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 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 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 neck extruded disc patients; lumbar extruded disc patients will have some degree of numbness, tingling or burning sensation in the buttocks, hips, thighs, legs, ankles, feet and toes. Furthermore, most will complain of weakness in leg strength. 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 are the typical Causes of Symptoms in Patients with Disc Extrusions?
The symptoms of disc extrusion 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 other types of disc herniation, varying from person to person. The severity of symptoms often depends on the severity of nerve roots compression.
The most common presenting symptoms 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 is an Extruded Disc?
Extruded discs are serious conditions that can cause paralysis or arms, legs. In fact, it can cause the loss of bowels bladder control and lead to impotenace 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 lead to further damage to 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 a successful non-surgical repair and recovery.
Our physiotherapy and chiropractic methods of treatment for the extruded disc is 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 the treatment of 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 cause impingement of the discal fibers as well as the exiting spinal nerves.
- Avoid prolonged sitting
- Do not lift or carry items that weight more than 2kgs.
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 surgery for the extruded disc. Some may even tell patients that disc damage cannot be reversed or repaired. 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. In short, we can fix a slipped disc, even an extruded one. We have the skills, knowledge and breakthrough technology specific for the spine. Our to-go-to method of treatment for spinal disc damage is NSD Therapy®.