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Ruptured Discs

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Topic Overview

A ruptured disc occurs when the jellylike material (nucleus) inside the disc breaks through the outer shell (capsule or annulus) of the spinal disc.

  • Since the nucleus is no longer stretching the fibers that form the capsule, there may be a significant reduction in back pain.
  • Fragments of a ruptured disc may break off and become lodged in the spinal canal.
  • Symptoms of sciatica may result:
    • If the ruptured nucleus compresses a nerve root.
    • When disc fragments compress and irritate nerve roots.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 21, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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