A herniated disc is a result of spinal pressure on the inner gel-like disc, called the nucleus pulposus, causing it to push through the outer wall of the disc, called the annulus fibrosus. These discs sit between each vertebra in your back and act like shock absorbers in the spine. Damage to these discs can cause severe pain in the back, neck, and other areas of your body.
Herniated discs can occur in the neck (cervical), middle back (thoracic) or low back (lumbar). Common terms used to describe a herniated disc are bulging disc, ruptured disc, or slipped disc, though these names can be misleading and misunderstood.
There are three main types of a herniated disc:
- Contained Disc Herniation: The disc is considered contained or bulging if the inner nucleus is not pushed through the outer wall of the annulus.
- Extruded Disc Herniation: The disc has ruptured and through the annulus wall entering the spinal canal. This type of extruded disc herniation is still intact with the spinal disc.
- Sequestered Disc Herniation: The disc has ruptured, broken away from the disc and migrated into the spinal canal.
If you are experiencing painful symptoms in the neck, lower back or legs, it could be because of a lumbar herniated disc. Fortunately, there are effective treatment options available. Treatment for a herniated disc could include:
- Conservative care
- Surgical interventions
- Spinal injections