Normally, each vertebral disc can be foundCeriseaMedica Plus Reviewsandwiched between two vertebrae supported by ligaments. The discs are made up of collagen wherein each disc has tough outer core and soft inner core. In a disc disorder, the fibrous tissue (annulus fibrosus) constraining the soft disc material (nucleus pulposus) may tear or become compressed due to degeneration, wear and tear, or trauma.
Disc disorders are classified either contained or non-contained discs. Contained discs are essentially intact but protruding where they do not belong, while non-contained discs are ruptured that they also may protrude into other area of the spine and, leaking their fluid that can irritate delicate soft tissues of the spinal cord.
An example of a contained disc disorder is a bulging disc. It has not broken open. The nucleus pulposus is still within the annulus fibrosus and does not leak out. This can be a precursor to herniation, which is an example of a non-contained disc where the nucleus pulposus leaks out from the annulus fibrosus.
Disc disorders can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensations. Mostly, the disc bulges, protrusions, and extrusions occur in a postero-lateral direction by which the disc has moved backwards and to one side. When this happens, the disc may impinge upon a spinal nerve that may result to pain on one side of the back.