What is a herniated disk?
When you experience back pain that shoots down your leg or neck pain that shoots down your arm, everyday activities can become difficult or even intolerable. One cause of neck or back pain is a herniated disk, sometimes called a 'slipped disk' or a 'ruptured disk'.
Your spine is made up of block of bones (vertebrae) cushioned by alternating small rubbery oval pads of cartilage or disks. These disks consist of a tough outer layer (annulus) and a soft inner layer (nucleus), like a jelly donut.
When a herniated disk occurs, a small portion of the nucleus pushes out through a tear in the annulus into the spinal canal. This can irritate a nerve and result in pain, numbness or weakness in your back as well as your leg or arm.
A herniated disk generally gets better with conservative treatment. Surgery for a herniated disk usually isn't necessary.