- Low Back Pain Relief
- Quiz: Do I Need Back Surgery?
- The Truth About Back Pain
- Patient Comments: Herniated Disc - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Herniated Disc - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Herniated Disc - Diagnosis
- Find a local Orthopedic Surgeon in your town
- Herniated disc facts
- How are the spine and its discs designed?
- What is a herniated disc? What causes it?
- What are symptoms of a herniated disc?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose a herniated disc?
- What is the treatment for a herniated disc?
- What are home remedies for a herniated disc?
- What exercises and stretches can be done for a herniated disc?
- What kind of health-care professionals treat herniated discs?
- What is the prognosis (outlook) for a herniated disc?
- Is it possible to prevent a herniated disc?
Quick GuideLow Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Relief
What is a herniated disc? What causes it?
As described above, each disc of the spine is designed much like a jelly donut. As the disc degenerates from age or injury, the softer central portion can rupture (herniate) through the surrounding outer ring (annulus fibrosus). This abnormal rupture of the central portion of the disc is referred to as a disc herniation. This is commonly referred to as a "slipped disc."
The most common location for a herniated disc to occur is in the disc at the level between the fourth and fifth lumber vertebrae in the low back. This area is constantly absorbing the impact of bearing the weight of the upper body. This is especially important when we are standing or sitting. The lower back is also critically involved in our body's movements throughout the day, as we twist the torso in rotating side to side and as we hinge the back in flexion and extension while bending or lifting.