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Spinal discs are located between each of the 33 vertebrae,
which are the interlocking bones of the spine that are stacked on top of one
another. These discs act as shock absorbers for the spine and allow it to flex,
bend, and twist.
The outer portion of a spinal disc, called the
capsule (annulus fibrosus), is made of tough, elastic cartilage. The capsule
surrounds a mass of jellylike material called the nucleus (nucleus
Aging, injury, and illness can cause the spinal discs
to crack or rupture. The jellylike nucleus can leak out, putting pressure on
the spinal nerves. Pain, numbness, and weakness may result, and
sometimes surgery is needed.
Spinal discs are also called
Current as of:
May 23, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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