The bones (vertebrae) that form the spine in your back are cushioned by small discs. These discs are round and flat, with a tough, outer layer (annulus) that surrounds a jellylike material called the nucleus. Located between each of your vertebra in the spinal column, discs act as shock absorbers for the spinal bones. Thick ligaments attached to the vertebrae hold the pulpy disc material in place.

 A herniated disc (also called a slipped or ruptured) disc is a fragment of the disc nucleus that is pushed out of the annulus, into the spinal canal through a tear or rupture. Discs that become herniated usually are in an early stage of degeneration. The spinal canal has limited space, which is inadequate for the spinal nerve and the displaced herniated disc fragment. Due to this displacement, the disc presses on spinal nerves, often producing pain, which may be severe.

 Herniated discs can occur in any part of the spine. Herniated discs are more common in the lower back (lumbar spine), but also occur in the neck (cervical spine). The area in which you experience pain depends on what part of the spine is affected.

Herniated Disc Overview

  • Causes

  • Herniated Disc Symptoms

  • Treatment

  • Surgery

  • Diagnosis

  • Lumbar Spine Surgery

  • Surgical Terms

  • Prevention Tips

  • Postsurgery

  • Cervical Spine Surgery

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