A herniated disc, also known as a “slipped disc” or ruptured disc is a medical condition relating to one of the many possible causes of back pain or problems. Our spine (backbone) is made up of vertebrae (bones) and discs. Discs are the soft spongy cushions that sit between each vertebrae of the spine. The discs allow your spine to move and be flexible and act as shock absorbers when they are healthy.
However, due to general wear and tear and perhaps sometimes from an injury, a disc may get damaged and bulge out or break open pressing on the nerves around the back causing inflammation, irritation and sometimes pain, this is called a herniated disc.
A herniated disc can be caused in any part of your spine. But most commonly a herniated disc affects the lower back (lumbar spine), although it can also be in the neck (cervical spine) and more rarely in the upper back (thoracic spine).
As mentioned earlier, a herniated disc is most commonly caused by general wear and tear, as you age, your discs dry out and aren’t as flexible to allow you to easily move.
Injury to the back may cause tiny tears or cracks in the hard outer layer of the disc, forcing it to bulge or break open or break into pieces. When a herniated disc presses on the nerve roots, it can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the area of the body where the nerve travels.
Treatment for a herniated disc recommended by doctors is most often taking anti-inflammation and pain relieving medicines that can also be injected into your back, stretching of the spine by your doctor or a chiropractor, and sometimes surgery is advised in severe conditions. If the pain persists for more than a few months, despite getting normal treatment, it might be due to some underlying back disease or another back disorder.