Throughout your life you have probably heard the terms bulging, herniated, or slipped disc. Another name for these conditions is degenerative disc disease. Our intervertebral discs are rubber spacer-like objects that reside between our spinal vertebrae and fulfill several vital functions.
First and foremost, our spinal discs act as shock absorbers, permitting our spinal vertebrae to absorb vertical or horizontal forces without knocking into one another and cracking. Without this shock-absorbing capability, humans wouldn’t be able to engage in any moderately athletic activity; and our spinal vertebrae would also wear down extremely quickly—like a bone that’s missing all of its ligaments.
Spinal discs also act as spacers between the bones in our spine, reserving room for nerves to radiate outward from our spinal cord to our arms and legs. As time goes by, our intervertebral discs lose their ability to hold water. Their spongy, cushioned texture starts to deflate, pinching down on these nerves and decreasing the shock absorption between our vertebrae.