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Back Anatomy: Disc injuries

Michigan back injury lawyer explains what happens in the back when disc injuries occur in auto accident victims

It’s important for auto accident victims to understand the anatomy behind the disc injuries they’re suffering. If wish to speak with a back injury lawyer now, call (800) 777-0028. The call and the advice is free.

The anatomy behind herniated disc and bulging disc injuries

A herniated disc or bulging disc is an injury to the disc or discs separating the vertebrae in a person’s spine.

The spine is made up of a column of bones called vertebrae, which are stacked one on top of the other.

The bones (or vertebrae) form the spinal canal, which protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that carry messages from a person’s brain to the different parts of a person’s body.

In between each of the vertebrae are rubbery cushions called spinal discs, and, when healthy, the spinal discs act as shock absorbers for the spine, keeping the spine flexible, according to the Mayo Clinic, and Cedars-Sinai.

A spinal disc can be thought of as a jelly donut. It has a soft cartilage center (called the nucleus) which is surrounded by a tough cartilage exterior (called the annulus).

A disc can be said to have “herniated” when its soft jelly-like center pushes out (or herniates) into the spinal canal through a crack in the disc’s tough exterior, according to the Mayo Clinic.

There in the spinal canal, the herniated disc compresses, puts pressure on and/or irritates the spinal cord, i.e., the nerves carrying messages from the brain to different parts of the body.

Similarly, a disc can be said to have “bulged” when its tough outer layer of cartilage has bulged or extended beyond its normal place between the vertebrae and into the spinal canal, pressing against the spinal cord.

The three areas of the spine

The human spine consists of three main, but distinct, areas: the cervical spine (neck); the thoracic spine (mid-back); and the lumbar spine (lower back).

The cervical spine is comprised of seven vertebrae, which begin at the base of the skull and conclude in the neck area at the top of the ribcage.

The thoracic spine consists of twelve vertebrae, which correspond to the twelve ribs comprising the ribcage.

And the lumbar spine contains five vertebrae, which make up the lower back and terminate at the sacrum, just above the tailbone, or coccyx.

Call Michigan Auto Law. Our back injury attorneys can help.

If you have concerns about your disc injury or your car accident, call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028. We can answer all of your questions. You can also fill out our consultation form.

There is no fee or obligation, and we’re always here to help.

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