Avoid surgery with a moderate, multi-disciplinary approach.
Discs rest between each of the vertebrae (bones of the spine) and are composed of an outer shell that is designed to protect the inner, gel-like portion of the disc, known as the nucleus pulposis. They perform several important functions:
• Provide shock absorption for the spine;
• Allow for movement of the vertebrae; and
• Act as a ligament to hold the spine together while keeping the bones separated.
When a disc is damaged, the outer shell may rupture, allowing for the soft, inner portion to bulge out. This occurrence can lead to severe pain, caused by the herniated disc putting pressure on the nerves of the spine.
The symptoms of a herniated, or bulged, disc will depend entirely on where the problem has occurred. Herniated discs can happen in any part of the spine, but most frequently affect the lower back (lumbar spine). Occasionally, herniated discs occur in the neck (cervical spine) and, more rarely, the upper back (thoracic spine).
For example, if the herniated disc occurs in the lower back, symptoms may include back pain, leg pain, bowel/bladder problems, numbness, and/or weakness.