Your spinal bones, called vertebrae, are separated and cushioned by discs, which act as shock absorbers and also make your spine flexible. These discs can become injured, resulting in a bulge or herniation. Disc bulges and herniation can be further broken down into three categories.
Disc Protrusion – A disc protrusion is most commonly referred to as a disc bulge. This type of spinal injury occurred when the disc forms an outpouching. The disc and ligaments are still intact, but the protrusion can press on the nerves and cause pain.
Disc Extrusion – A disc extrusion is more severe than a protrusion. Spinal discs are made up of a gelatinous material surrounded by tough sheets of collagen fibers. In a disc extrusion, the external layer ruptures, allowing the gelatinous center of the disc to squeeze out. In some cases, the ligaments around the disc are damaged, but this is not always the case.
Disc Sequestration – Disc sequestration is similar to disc extrusion in that the collagen exterior ruptures, but in disc sequestration, the gelatinous center is completely separated from the main portion of the disc.
Using an MRI to Diagnose Disc Injuries – MRIs use magnetic fields to create an accurate picture of your spine. It can be used to diagnose spinal disc injuries which then dictates what treatment is necessary.