Spinal Decompression Toronto - Spine

The intervertebral discs are found between each vertebra in the human spine. Like the vertebrae, there are 7 cervical (neck), 12 thoracic (mid-back) and 5 lumbar (low back) discs.  The discs make up approximately 1/3 of the spinal column.

Their function is to:

                                 1. absorb shock from everyday wear and tear
                                 2. allow movement of our spinal column
                                 3. separate the vertebrae

Spinal Decompression Toronto - Normal Vertebrae

Discs consist of an outer fibrous layer (annulus fibrosis) and an inner soft, jelly-like, substance (nucleus pulposis).  The disc is made up of proteins called collagen and proteoglycans that attract water.

Normally, discs compress when pressure is put on them and decompress when the pressure is relieved.  Discs do not have a blood supply and therefore the only way to get nutrition and oxygen in and remove waste products from the disc is by a process called “imbibition”.

Imagine a sponge with water, when you compress the sponge you release water and when you remove the compressive force, water is “sucked” back into the sponge.  This is exactly how discs work. Dysfunctional discs can lead to degeneration that can then lead to disease processes like:

                                • Osteoarthritis (Spinal Degeneration)
                                • Disc Bulging/Herniation
                                • Spinal Stenosis
                                • Facet Syndrome