There’s a new development that could help people with back injuries, and it’s a little bit like how we patch flat tires on the road.

The technical term here is Tension-Activated Repair Patch, or TARP, and a TARP is intended for someone who has a herniated disc.

To, well, back up a bit, the discs in our back have tough outer coatings and more squishy stuff inside.

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc or a ruptured disc, occurs when the outer coating of the disc tears and the inner stuff starts squishing out.

It can be painful, and there’s no real way to cure it.

Up to this point the most effective treatment is to essentially put a rubber plug in the hole in the disc’s outer coating.

But the Tension-Activated Repair Patch is an upgrade.

It not only seals the opening, it uses the natural movement of the back and the body to activate anti-inflammatory molecules which can help build the cushioning back up between the patient’s vertebrae.

The patch doesn’t solve a ruptured disc on its own; we’re still trying to figure out how to do that.

But it does keep the back injury from deteriorating further.

That means people who might face increasingly debilitating back pain over time as the ruptured disc gets progressively worse, won’t have to go through that.

And that would make for a pretty solid patch.

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is typically time for a unique tradition in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The city isn’t usually very snowy, but as Atlas Oscura reported, the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority has found a different way to salute the cold part of the year.

They build a big snow person out of tumbleweeds, and then put it outside their offices near Interstate 40.

Happy Tumbleweed Tuesday to all Albuquerque-ians!

New ‘patch’ uses natural body motion to fix disc herniation (University of Pennsylvania)

Tumbleweed Snowman (Atlas Obscura)

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Photo by Nenad Stojkovic via Flickr/Creative Commons