Krames Online Close Window
Library Search Go Advanced Search
Español (Inicio)

HealthSheets™

Common Spine and Disk Problems

The most common back problems occur when disks tear, bulge, or rupture. In such cases, an injured disk can no longer cushion the vertebrae and absorb shock. As a result, the rest of your spine may also weaken. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and other symptoms.

Image
Torn annulus
Image
Contained herniated disk
Image
Extruded herniated disk

  • Torn annulus. A sudden movement may cause a tiny tear in an annulus. Nearby ligaments may stretch.

  • Contained herniated disk. As a disk wears out, the nucleus may bulge into the annulus and press on nerves.

  • Extruded herniated disk. When a disk ruptures, its nucleus can squeeze out and irritate a nerve.

Image
Arthritis
Image
Instability
Image
Spondylolisthesis

  • Arthritis. As disks wear out over time, bone spurs form. These growths can irritate nerves and inflame facets.

  • Instability. As a disk stretches, the vertebrae slip back and forth. This can put pressure on the annulus.

  • Spondylolisthesis. Listhesis is a condition in which one vertebra has moved forward or backward, in relation to the one above or below it. This causes a crack (stress fracture) in the areas that link the vertebrae together. This may put pressure on the annulus, stretch the disk, and irritate nerves.

© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.