What is a Herniated Disc

Posted by Jennifer Williams on 9th Dec 2013

Anyone can develop a herniated disc, if they are not careful. Your back has bones called vertebrae. These bones make up your spine. The vertebrae are cushioned with spongy discs that are small in size. On a healthy person the discs will absorb shock. It will also keep the person’s spine flexible. When the disc becomes damaged, it may break or have a bulge. This damage is called a herniated disc, it is also known as a ruptured disc or slipped disc.

The most common place to have a herniated disc is the lumbar spine also known as the lower back. Although the lower back is the most common place to suffer a herniated disc, a person can have it in any part of their spine. Some people have a herniated disc in the cervical spine which is the neck or they may have it in the thoracic spine, which is the upper back. Having a herniated disc in the upper back is rare.


If a herniated disc presses on a root nerve, it can cause a person to feel pain, numbness and or weakness, in the sections where the nerve travels through the body. If a person has a herniated disc in the lower back, they may feel numbness and pain down the leg and buttock. The condition is called sciatica, which is one of the most common symptoms of a herniated disc. People may also feel backache if the herniated disc is not pressing on the nerve. Some people don’t even feel any pain or discomfort. People, who suffer from a loss of bowl or bladder control along with numbness and weakness in both legs, should call 911 immediately.


Various factors can cause a herniated disc. These factors include:

  • Age, your age can cause your spine to lose flexibility and become dry.
  • Lots of abuse on the body and wear and tear.
  • An injury to the person’s spine.


Full recovery from a herniated disc can take a few weeks to several months. Your health care provider may provide medication, to help with the pain. The may also suggest that you use heat therapy, such as a heating pad. You can also try and take warm showers. Rest is the best medicine if they pain is severe, but try not to stay in bed for more than 2 days. Staying in bed for too long can cause weakness in the muscles. This can make the pain worse, try and do light activities if at all possible. Please visit our back pain products category for solutions to help relieve these symptoms.