A disc is the shock-absorbing pad in between each vertebra. Each disc forms a joint, to allow movement of the vertebra, and acts as a ligament to hold the vertebra together. The disc has a thick outer layer (annulus) that surrounds the soft gel-like center (nucleus). The Intervertebral discs primary function is to act as a shock absorber. The spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord and spinal nerves, lies directly behind the disc and the vertebral bodies.
When the disc starts to wear out it is called degenerative disc disease, the intervertebral disc shrinks in height, and can tear, bulge or herniate out into the surrounding spinal canal. When this happens the spine will lose it’s normal alignment and motion. This will restrict your ability to turn and bend. Nerve roots can also become pinched or irritated by the disc protruding and the loss of disc height. Causing numbness and tingling in your hands and feet. This is often accompanied by pain, tight muscles, swelling, and inflammation.