The Intervertebral disc (IVD) and it’s function is important in Chiropractic, and is relevance to many cases of back pain, and conditions such as disc herniation.
The disc lies between the vertebral bodies – the bones of the spinal columns. There are 5 lumbar bones, 12 thoracic, and 7 cervical vertebra, with disc underneath each (except at the top of the spine).
The disc has an important role – it functions to transmit forces (loads) and helps us with movement.
The disc is made up of an outer section called the annulus fibrosus, which is hard and strong, and an inner more gelatinous core known as the nucleus pulposus. Interestingly, the disc make up approximately one-third of spina column!
A child’s disc is smaller than an adult, and has blood vessels. By the time we are adults the disc has very few blood vessels. The disc is made of collagen material, which provides strength, and also helps anchor the disc to the bones above and below. Material within the disc helps maintain hydration, which is important for disc height. There are changes which can occur to disc height due to aging, degermation, or trauma. Loss of the material which helps with disc hydration is an important part of this.
In Gonstead Chiropractic the disc is very important as we see it as a foundation for function, and movement of the spine above. For example, dysfunction around the L5 disc (lower back), may lead to compensatory biomechanical changes to the spine above. This is referred to as the level foundation concept.
Function of the disc is also important for conditions such as:
- acute back pain.
- chronic back pain.
- disc prolapse/disc herniation
- disc bulges
- range of motion, spinal stiffness.
- leg pain, numbness, tingling. (paraesthesia).
Dr Adam Stewart