What is the nucleus pulposus of an intervertebral disc?

Centro de la columna Vertebral: August 06, 2019

que es el nucleo pulposo del disco
 

What is the nucleus pulposus of an intervertebral disc?

The nucleus pulposus of an intervertebral disc performs the important function of protecting the spinal column, which contains the nerve roots that communicate the nervous system. Learn more about this part of the body and the problems it can cause in this article.

The intervertebral disc and its content

The spine is made up of 33 bones (vertebrae) each of which contains an intervertebral disc. This disc has two parts: the pulpy nucleus and the annulus fibrosus. The nucleus pulposus is a gelatinous substance that provides cushioning, while the annulus is responsible for keeping the nucleus protected. Both are responsible for giving flexibility to the spine and protect the nerve roots that pass through it.

Herniated disc

When there is a herniated disc, it is because part of the nucleus pulposus comes out of its natural place, causing pressure on the inner nerves. This is due, among other causes, to the dehydration of the disc due to age. The most common movement after which the pain occurs is flexion (bending for example), since the nucleus absorbs 75% of the weight that is distributed over the spine.

Problems related to the pulpy nucleus

As we mentioned before, one of the main problems related to nucleus pulposus is dehydration; this risk increases as our age increases, because it loses its gel characteristic due to biochemical changes in the body. It can also increase the presence of collagen, which causes the fibrous ring to invade the nucleus, making it more "rigid"; this is one of the reasons why stiffness in the back and pain with movement increase in older people.

Prevention and diagnosis

One of the most common symptoms of problems in the pulpy nucleus is chronic pain, especially in the lower back. Maintaining an adequate weight and seeking medical attention in the event of back pain is important for the prevention and early diagnosis of a herniated disc, the most common condition related to the nucleus pulposus of the intervertebral disc.

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At theCentro de la Columna Vertebral we have over 24 years of experience being the leading private medical institution in the treatment of conditions that cause back pain, including herniated discs.

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“The information contained in this blog is of an informative nature; it seeks to promote good health habits in the population and by no means replaces medical consultation. Content reviewed and corrected by Dr. Armando Acevedo Mendez, orthopedics and traumatology specialist. Professional license: 602691.”

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