What is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc is one of the most common causes of neck, back or leg pain. A herniated disc is a result of pressure on the nucleus pulposus, the inner gel-like part of the disc, pushing through the annulus fibrosus, the outer wall of the disc. When this happens, the disc can bulge or herniate and begin to press on the spinal nerves causing significant pain. The spinal disc sits between each vertebrae in your back, and function as shock absorbers in the spine. Damage to these discs can cause severe pain in the neck, back, and other areas of your body. A herniated disc is very common in the neck (cervical spine), and low back (lumbar spine) and these conditions are treated every day with conservative care, spinal injections and sometimes surgical interventional with excellent results.
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Herniated disc occur most often in the cervical (neck) or lumbar (low back) Patients often refer to a herniated disc as a “bulging, ruptured or a slipped disc.” The following are the three most common types of herniated disc:
- Contained Disc Herniation: A spinal disc that is bulging and has not pushed (herniated) through the annulus wall into the spinal canal.
- Extruded Disc Herniation: A ruptured spinal disc that has broken through the annulus wall entering the spinal canal. This type of extruded disc herniation is still intact with the spinal disc.
- Sequestered Disc Herniation: A ruptured spinal disc, that has broken away from the disc and migrated into the spinal canal.