Herniated intervertebral disc

Herniated intervertebral disc

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Credit: JOHN T. ALESI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Herniated intervertebral disc. Artwork of an axial view of a slipped (herniated) disc in the lumbar (lower back) spine. The fibrocartilage discs (blue) between each vertebra (light brown) form spinal joints that bend and flex. A slipped disc is where the disc's pulpy interior (nucleus pulposus, dark blue) protrudes through the damaged outer ring (annulus fibrosus, light blue). This extruded material can press on the nerve roots (left and right, yellow) and spinal nerves (at this level, the cauda equina). The protruding spinous and transverse processes of the vertebra are at bottom. Spinal disc herniation can cause pain and in severe cases may require surgery.

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