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Herniated disc

A herniated disc is a condition in which the spine is affected for various reasons, leading to the central part of the spine to stick out. This, simply put, is what a hernia is: where an organ (or the fascia of one) sticks out through the area in which it is normally held. In this case, it is specifically related to a disc of the spine.

Other terms used for this condition

Various other terms are used to refer to this situation. One of them is slipped disc, although that is not an accurate description. Ruptured disc is another phrase that is often used. The disc is sometimes also referred to as being prolapsed.


There is no particular set of symptoms that can be found in every case of a herniated disc, due in part to the fact that factors such as where the hernia is located affect the symptoms that are produced. If no tissue aside from the disc has injury, then there may be no pain at all, or perhaps minor pain. However, in some instances, severe pain can affect either the neck or the lower back, and can branch out to other areas which are affected by the nerves which have had their roots impacted. Aside from pain, numbness can also result from a herniated disc. Sciatica is another possibility. Reflexes can also be impacted, and the muscles may become weak.


A herniated disc can result from usual wear. For instance, this wear can take place when a person is sitting down on a constant basis. On the other hand, traumatic injury can also lead to this occurrence. This many happen, for example, when a person lifts something up while bending at his waist (as opposed to maintaining a straight back and using the legs to lift). Genetic factors are also involved in the incidence of herniated discs.


In most situations, a herniated disc will resolve over time without any surgery being necessary. Normally, this happens within about a month and a half. However, there are some cases where surgery is useful, and there are different procedures which can be involved in this type of treatment. Aside from surgical options, medication may be used, such as anti-inflammatories for the relief of pain. In certain situations, weight reduction may be useful. Physical therapy might also be employed. There are also other possible treatment options. Talk with a doctor to try to determine what methods of treatment might be most beneficial in your circumstances, and don't use the information here as a substitute for professional assistance.


Various complications can arise as a result of a herniated disc. One of those is cauda equina syndrome. There are other things that can potentially come as a result, one of which is chronic pain.

More general information about radiculopathy is available, or you can alternatively go right to a separate page where there further details about underlying causes are found.