What are Spinal Discs Made of?
Bottom Line: We all know spinal discs are important -- but to understand why, the real question is... what are they made of? Simply put, your spinal discs are the little cushions that sit between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. Each disc is made up of a tough, fibrous outer layer (annulus fibrosis) and a jelly-like inner layer (nucleus pulposus). The tough outer layer contains and protects the softer inside layer. These small discs have a big job. They enable your spine to move in all directions.
Why it Matters: Your spinal column has 24 moveable bones with spinal discs between each pair. Each disc acts like a small swivel to allow your body to tilt and rotate. A disc’s inner layer is mostly made up of water, and that high water content helps keep it supple and moveable. However, as you get older, your discs tend to lose their high water content, which can lead to degeneration. Degenerative discs don't move as well, are more prone to cause pain, and even contribute to the compression of your spinal nerves.
Next Steps: Movement is one of the best ways to keep your spinal discs healthy. Since the spinal discs don't have a particularly good blood supply, movement is how they bring in nutrients. Those nutrients help the discs stay healthy and push out waste that can contribute to pain and inflammation. If your neck or back hurts, let us know! We'll help get your spinals discs moving and working together better so you get your life back from pain!
Intervertebral Disc: Anatomy-Physiology – Pathophysiology -Treatment. Pain Practice. 2000.