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Herniated Disc

What is a Disc?

A disc is a soft, rubbery pad found between the hard bones that make up the spinal column. The hard bones that make up the spinal column is called the vertebrae. The discs between the vertebrae allow the back to flex and bend. Discs also act as shock absorbers.

The outer layer of the disc is made out of a tough substance. The outer layers is called the "annulus fibrosis". The inner layer of the disc has a gel-like center called the "nucleus pulposus."

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc is a displacement of the disc’s center. The displacement is a result of a crack in the outer layer of the disc.

Herniated discs are also called ruptured discs and slipped discs. Herniated discs are most common in the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is the part of your backbone between the bottom of your ribs and your hips.

Herniated discs are most common in people in their 30s and 40s.

Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

The most common symptoms are:

  • back pain
  • pain, numbness, tingling or weakness of the leg

The pain and numbness of the leg occurs when the herniated disc presses on the nerves in the spine.

What causes a Herniated Disc?

There are several causes of a Herniated disc. The most common causes are:

  • loss of water content of the disc
  • trauma to the area surrounding the disc

Treatments for Herniated Lumbar Disc

The most common treatments are surgery, medication (to relieve pain and swelling), bed rest, steroid injection, and physical therapy.

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