Disc herniations are a condition where the soft “jellylike” center of a spinal disc known as the nucleus pulposus impedes on the spinal cord. The role of the disc is to support the spine by acting as a “shock-absorbing” cushion. Disc herniations are categorized into four types based on the severity of the actual herniation: Bulging, protrusion, extrusion, and sequestration.
Pain | Dull/Achy | Tightness/Stiffness | Swelling
| Burning | Muscle spasm | Weakness | Muscle fatgiue | Loss of normal range of motion
Bulging: Extension of the disc margin beyond the margins of the adjacent vertebral endplates.
Protrusion: The posterior longitudinal ligament remains intact, but the nucleus pulposus impinges on the annulus fibrosus.
Extrusion: The nuclear material emerges through the annular fibers, but the posterior longitudinal ligament remains intact.
Sequestration: The nuclear material emerges through the annular fibers, and the posterior longitudinal ligament is disrupted. A portion of the nucleus pulposus has protruded into the epidural space.
Spinal column demonstrating normal and herniated disc. The contents of the disc are being pushed into the spinal canal, where the spinal cord is found.
MRI of lumbar spine demonstrating a disc herniation of the L4/L5 disc.
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