DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Scoliosis. Back of a 67 year old woman showing twisting of the spine (scoliosis) due to a prolapsed intervertebral disc. The intervertebral discs are pads of cartilage between the vertebrae, which cushion the spine and allow flexibility. Prolapsing, commonly called a slipped disc, occurs when the inner pulp of the disc extrudes through the fibrous outer layer. This can put pressure on the spinal cord, causing back and leg pain and weakness of the legs. The lack of support can also lead to deformities of the spine, as here. This woman's right arm was amputated after a road accident some years previously, and has been replaced by a prosthesis.
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