Slipped intervertebral disc, illustration

Slipped intervertebral disc, illustration

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Credit: JOHN BAVOSI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Slipped intervertebral disc. Illustration of a side view of the bottom end of the spine (part of the lumbar region), with a slipped disc (centre). This is an intervertebral disc (blue) that has herniated (ruptured) and is putting pressure on the spinal nerves (yellow). The gelatinous core (orange, nucleus pulposus) has broken through the outer fibrous layer of the disc. Intervertebral discs form the cushions between each of the spinal bones (vertebrae) forming the vertebral column (front of spine at right). Pressure on a nerve close to the spinal cord can cause pain and paralysis in large areas of the body. Surgery may be needed, though most slipped discs heal with rest.

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