A lumbar disc is also known as the spinal disc. In the lumbar spine, there is a total of five intervertebral discs that are located in the middle of the vertebral body
Main Functions of the Lumbar Discs:
- Distributing the weight or load on the spine, offering shock absorption functions.
- Maintain accurate distance between the side vertebral bodies when there is movement
- Providing enough flexibility to the spinal cord and preventing any excess movements
- Creating plus maintaining the C-shaped lordotic curve of the spine (lumbar)
Specific characteristics of the lumbar intervertebral discs can be distinguished by their size, height, and shape. The size of the lumbar discs is quite thick, more from the front side than the back. Similarly, the lumbar discs tend to get shorter in the daytime due to the upper body weight. A good sleep of a minimum of six hours can help these discs regain their actual shape. Likewise, the shape or form of the disc may change with movement.
Composition of the Lumbar Intervertebral Discs
- Annulus Fibrosus – The thick outer shell is known as the annulus fibrosus. It has many layers and is primarily made of strong collagen protein fibers. It has shock-absorbing qualities.
- Nucleus Pulposus – It is a soft type of protein collagen that fills up the main part of the lumbar disc. It is made up of 90% water and remains so till the age of 30 years. Then dehydration and degeneration may begin to develop.
As you age, the lumbar discs get hardened, calcified, and less flexible. The lumbar discs receive nutrition via the endplates. The discs absorb fluids when you perform spinal movements. Extreme postures like prolonged standing or sitting can suppress disc nutritional levels.
Lumbar Disc Disorders
Lumbar discs are responsible for providing your upper body flexibility and adequate protection. These discs are also very susceptible to all kinds of injuries and disc disorders, from a slipped disc or herniated disc, pinched nerve disorder, bulging disc, sciatica, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease.
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