The intervertebral disc is a fibrocartilaginous structure found between the bodies of adjacent vertebra. There is a disc between each pair of vertebra in the spine except at the first and second cervical level.
It has a series of outer fibrous rings surrounding a softer center. The disc functions as a cushion, allows for movement and serves as a cartilaginous joint between adjacent vertebrae.
When you think and try to picture this disc, think of a jelly doughnut. There are 4 parts: the soft, “nucleus pulposus” in the middle, a series of outer fibrous rings called the “annulus fibrosis” surrounding the nucleus, and 2 end plates that are attached to the adjacent vertebral bodies. These discs serve as a cushion or force dissipater, transmitting compressive loads throughout a range of motion. The disc also allows movement while serving as a cartilaginous joint between the vertebrae. The disks are thicker anteriorly and therefore contribute to normal cervical and lumbar lordosis.
With age or injury, the wall of the spinal discs can wear-out, or be damaged. This condition is called degenerative disc disease. Also, the walls of the discs can weaken bulge out or tear occasionally – enough to cause a herniated disc. When the disc itself causes pain, the pain is usually felt as a deep, aching pain in the neck or back. Neck discs may sometimes lead to pain felt in the arms and upper back. Back discs may sometimes cause pain into the buttocks and into the thighs. However, pain from other structures in and around the spine may cause pain in the same locations and feel the same.
Discography is currently used to determine whether a vertebral disc is the source of pain in patients back or neck. A disco-gram can be done at several levels and is a diagnostic tool not a treatment.
Working for Redefine Healthcare for the past 5 years has shown me what treating each patient individually actually means. Dr. Freeman is a pleasure to work for and has gained my utmost respect. I have several family members who are patients of Dr. Freeman’s and are extremely satisfied. I highly recommend Redefine Healthcare!
I have been a patient of Dr. Ceraulo for over 7 years and after decades of doctors who brushed me off, Dr C was the first to not only listen but actually help me effectively learn how to manage my pain. The staff is always friendly and welcoming. Although I now live an hour away from the office I still travel there and refuse to change pain management doctors. It’s worth the visit!
Dr. Eric D. Freeman is a top-rated, best-in-class pain management doctor. He is a nationally recognized pain relief specialist and is among the top pain care doctors in New Jersey and the country. He is an award-winning expert and contributor to prominent media outlets.
Dr. Eric D. Freeman has been recognized for his thoughtful, thorough, modern approach to treating chronic pain. He has been named a “top pain management doctor in New Jersey” and one of “America’s Top Physicians” for advanced sports injury treatments.
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