Cervical Disc Bulge and Herniation
This exhibit depicts the sagittal anatomy of the cervical spine comparing three intervertebral disc conditions. Intervertebral discs are situated between each vertebral body of the spinal column. They serve as cushions to absorb shock and give the spine flexibility. A normal intervertebral disc consists of a tough outer annulus and a soft inner nucleus. If the annulus is weakened, the nucleus can begin to push through the inner annular fibers, causing the disc to bulge into the spinal canal. Further damage can cause the nucleus to herniate completely through the annulus, impinging the spinal cord. These conditions can be asymptomatic, or lead to a variety of symptoms including radicular pain, numbness, osteoarthritis, and paralysis.