The Process of Disc Degeneration
The intervertebral disc is stronger than bone, in its’ healthy state, and is comprised of a great deal of water. The outer ring of the disc is made of a ligament type material, and it surrounds the center of the disc called the nucleus. The nucleus is made of a jelly like fluid that gives it a spongy quality and allows it to absorb stress like a shock absorber. The disc also acts as a spacer for the vertebra above and below giving space to the joints and the nerves. Excessive pressure or injuries to the spine cause the muscles to tighten, and within time, the ligaments shorten, producing stiffness. The discs can no longer absorb the vital fluids that contain the nutrients and oxygen that keep the disc healthy. The outer ring or annulus dries out, becomes brittle and tears. Before a disc can bulge or herniate it goes through this degeneration process and over time the disc becomes thinner.
As the disc become thinner, bone spurs begin to form around the disc space. These can also form around the facet joints. This is thought to be due to the body’s response to try to stop the excess motion at the spinal segment. The bone spurs can become a problem if they start to grow into the spinal canal and press into the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This condition is called spinal stenosis.
In most cases the SpineTREX® program can improve the condition of the disc, and reverse the process, depending on the amount of degeneration. The earlier the degenerative process is treated the more likely a complete and lasting result is obtained. In advanced Phase 2 degeneration and in Phase 3 degeneration there is little or no disc material to decompress and it is unlikely a positive result can be achieved.
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