A disc is actually cartilage that lies in between spinal vertebrae in the back and neck. These discs contain a jellylike fluid called pulposus that helps cushion the spinal column. Certain injuries, habits and conditions can cause dehydration disease in the spinal discs and fluid.

1

Significance

An injury to certain discs such as those in the lumbar (lower back) and cervical (neck) area can be caused by an injury such as a herniated disc, which can cause the annulus or outer covering or the disc to crack, according to the South African Spine Society. Consequently, fluid from a ruptured disc can exert pressure on nerves, causing pain and numbness in the spine and extremities.

  • A disc is actually cartilage that lies in between spinal vertebrae in the back and neck.
  • Consequently, fluid from a ruptured disc can exert pressure on nerves, causing pain and numbness in the spine and extremities.
2

Causes

A person's disc fluid can naturally dehydrate as they get older. Conditions such as spinal osteoarthritis can expedite dehydration because of certain vertebral deformities.

3

Other Causes

Smoking is known to cause degenerative disc disease and disc dehydration. When a disc dehydrates because of cigarette smoking, the cushion between vertebrae diminishes. This can cause a thickening of ligaments and pain from nerve compression.

  • Smoking is known to cause degenerative disc disease and disc dehydration.
  • This can cause a thickening of ligaments and pain from nerve compression.
4

Identification

Doctors can identify degenerative disc disease through MRI scans. These diseased discs are known as "black discs," which can also be detected through discography, an X-ray performed after an injection of contrasting media.

5

Prevention/Solution

Doctors often recommend anti-inflammatory medications and exercise for people with disc dehydration. A person can also undergo traction therapy to replace disc fluid.