BO VEISLAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BO VEISLAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Slipped disc. Artwork of a slipped (herniated) intervertebral disc seen from above. The front of the body is at left. The spine consists of blocks of bone (brown) called vertebrae. Adjacent vertebrae are cushioned by flexible pads of cartilage called intervertebral discs (blue). The spinal cord (yellow and black) runs down the centre of the vertebrae. The disc seen here has ruptured and its internal jelly-like fluid (green) has leaked and is putting pressure on a spinal nerve (yellow). This can cause severe pain and paralysis. Most slipped discs heal with rest and anti-inflammatory drugs, although some may require surgery.
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