IF an intervertebral disk has ruptured in Bella this may be an emergency
What is a Disk?
Most people are aware that the backbone is not just one long, tubular bone. The backbone (or spine) is actually made of numerous smaller bones called vertebrae that house and protect the spinal cord. The numerous vertebrae that make up the spine allow for flexibility of the back. The vertebrae are connected by joints called intervertebral disks.
The disk serves as a cushion between the vertebral bodies of the vertebrae. It consists of a fibrous outer shell (called the annulus fibrosus), a jelly-like interior (the nucleus pulposus), and cartilage caps on each side connecting it to the vertebral bones. Ligaments run below and above the discs, with the ligament above the discs being particularly rich in sensitive nerves. These ligaments are called the dorsal (above) and ventral (below) longitudinal ligaments.
There are seven cervical (neck) vertebrae, 13 thoracic (chest) vertebrae, seven lumbar (lower back) vertebrae, three sacral vertebrae (which are fused), and a variable number of tail vertebrae.
Type I and Type II Disk Disease
There are two types of disease that can afflict the intervertebral disk causing the disk to press painfully against the spinal cord: Hansen Type I Disk Disease and Hansen Type II Disk Disease. In Type I, the nucleus pulposus becomes calcified (mineralized). A wrong jump by the patient causes the rock-like disk material to shoot out of the annulus fibrosus. If the disk material shoots upward, it will press painfully on the ligament above and potentially cause compression of the spinal cord further above.
Type II Disk Disease is a much slower degenerative process. Here the annulus fibrosus collapses and protrudes upward creating a more chronic problem with pain and spinal cord compression.