Commonly known as herniated discs, disc extrusions are caused by a weakened disc wall, or annulus fibrosus, rupturing due to age or injury. This outer wall is what keeps the soft, jelly-like center of the disc contained, creating a type of cushion for the vertebrae to bend and move freely. When a disc becomes ruptured or herniated, an annular tear occurs, allowing the jelly-like center to spill into the spinal cavity causing irritation, inflammation and/or pinched nerves.
Disc Extrusion Diagnosis
Patients typically feel some form of tingling, numbness, loss of motion, or pain from the source of the extrusion. When these symptoms radiate down into the arms or legs, it may be nerve-related irritation or compression often caused by herniated discs. An MRI will need to assess the structure and integrity of the spine as well as a physical exam to detail the origin of the pain as well as the severity of symptoms. In cases where surgery is needed to repair the suspect disc, a discogram will be needed to further confirm the problematic disc.