A herniated disc, also known as a ruptured disc, is a medical situation where the soft inner cartilage of a spinal disc seeps through a crack in the tougher, exterior cartilage of the disc. A herniated disc can be caused by a number of things, but the most common is aging and the wear and tear that results, called disc degeneration. Herniated discs can also be caused by the person lifting a large, heavy item using their back muscles, twisting during lifting, obesity and genetics.

What is a Spinal Disc?

A spinal disc is the cartilage cushion between each vertebrae of the spine. When the exterior of a disc tears or cracks, there is a potential for the soft inner cartilage to seep through, resulting in a herniated disc. A spinal disc is used as a shock absorber between vertebrae, and is also utilized to provide mobility and hold the spinal column together.

Symptoms of Herniated Discs

The symptoms of herniated discs are irritation and pain of nearby nerves, numbness, tingling, weakness in the arms or legs, or often no symptoms at all. Herniated discs typically take place in the lower back -the lumbar spine, or the upper back – the cervical spine.