The Anatomy of the Normal Disc

The normal disc in the lumbar spine is a marvel of creative engineering. The center of the disc is filled with a gel-like substance called the “nucleus” which serves to provide cushioning and flexibility to the bones(vertebrae) above and below.

The outer fibrous rings are called the “annulus” and provide strength and integrity to the disc. Each ensuing cartilagenous layer, one upon another, runs the opposite direction of the previous layer. This criss-crossing of layers is what gives the annulus its strength and durability.

In the center of the spinal canal the delicate spinal cord passes down from the brain through the entire spine giving off spinal nerve roots between every two adjoining vertebrae. These spinal nerve roots comprise the nerves in the lower back or lumbar spine that enter the buttocks and then travel down the legs.

The largest of these nerves is the Sciatic nerve.

In the pages that follow we will explain the common causes of low back pain, many of the conditions that can arise, and how they often affect the disc and the sciatic nerve to result in lower back and or leg pain that make a person’s life miserable.

Please feel free to ask one of our physicians for more in depth explanations to assist you in your understanding!

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