.DryDisc desiccation is the first step in degenerative disc disease and is diagnosed via MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), a noninvasive diagnostic technique that produces computerized images of internal body tissues and is based on nuclear magnetic resonance of atoms within the body. In time the annular fibers also begin to dry out, lose their elasticity and are subject to cracks or tears that result in a bulging out or herniation of the disc tissue. Remember that bone is living tissue and like other living tissue such as the skin on the palm of a hand, for instance, it will build up when stressed, and this we call a callous.
As the disc is re-hydrated the shock absorbing properties are restored and a normal life can be resumed. Many times at least some of the lost height can be restored as well. Since 2001 when the FDA finally approved non-surgical spinal decompression therapy, there is new hope for those who suffer from degenerative disc disease. ThinAs a disc loses water content it begins to lose height and the vertebra get closer together.The individual bones that comprise the spine are called vertebrae. A single disc level is isolated and by utilizing specific traction and relaxation cycles throughout the treatment, along with proper positioning, negative pressure can actually be created within the disc. In some ways discs resemble automobile tires for they both absorb shock and allow the spine to bend and move, but instead of being full of air like a tire the inside or nucleus of a spinal disc is filled with a jelly-like protein substance that is designed to absorb shock. This technique is often imagined as a sort of advanced x-ray but is instead induced by the application of radio waves, not x-rays. Each vertebrae except the top two in the neck are separated by a cushion, an intervertebral disc.
The bone and/or supporting ligaments become denser as these calcium molecules accumulate, and eventually become numerous enough to form visible spurs or osteophytes . There are a variety of medical terms used to describe this buildup of calcium dependent upon the location and severity, but in the end they all spell osteoarthritis.
A dry, thin disc is unable to do its job of absorbing shock and as the degenerative changes progress can eventually reach the point where the ordinary jolt of the heel striking the ground which occurs during everyday walking causes pain. The outside of the disc is surrounded by fibrous, ligamentous tissue called the annular fibers named as such from the same root word from which we get annual or year round. This is the second stage of disc degeneration. This is easily seen on both x-ray and MRI, and creates the appearance of the disc "wearing away" but in fact no tissue has actually disappeared - it has simply shrunk in size exactly in the same way that a plump plum when dried becomes a shriveled prune. Therefore, a healthy hydrated disc will appear white whereas a dry disc will appear very grey or black. The signals that bounce back are different dependent upon how wet horizontal wood band saw or dry the tissue is and with the magic of computers the data is collected and the computer assigns color to the pixels. Abnormal or excessive mechanical stress to bone causes it to respond in the same way as does skin and results in a buildup of deposits of calcium. Very wet tissue such as body fat is rendered white and completely dry tissue is rendered black with many, many shades of grey in between. More substantial impacts such as dropping the body weight from step to step while descending stairs and an infinite variety of other everyday activities can result in sudden sharp, shooting pains in what many patients describe as "bone on bone" and while, perhaps, not technically correct never-the-less results in mechanical stress to the joints of the spine and the supporting ligaments
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