SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Slipped disc. Coloured sagittal (side view) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan through the lower back of a patient with a prolapsed (slipped) intervertebral disc (kink, upper centre). The front of the body is at left. The spinal cord (green) runs down the vertebral canal (white) in the blocks of bone (vertebrae, grey) of the backbone. Intervertebral discs (pink) are flexible pads of cartilage that lie between and cushion adjacent vertebrae. A slipped disc has ruptured and may place pressure on the spinal cord, causing pain. Most slipped discs heal with rest, though some require surgery. This is at the T12-L1 (thoracic-lumbar) level.
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