Between the vertebrae of your spine are soft discs. They let your spine twist and bend. They absorb shocks. But if damaged, the disc’s soft center can push through the disc wall. That’s a herniated disc. This bulge presses against nerves in your spine.
A herniated disc can be caused by the normal wear and tear of aging. As you age, your spinal discs become less flexible and more prone to cracks and tears. Herniated discs are also caused by traumatic injury. And, they can also happen if you lift something heavy.
Symptoms depend on how bad the herniation is and at what level of your spine it has happened. Most happen in the lumbar spine. This can cause pain, numbness, weakness and tingling. You may feel these in your buttocks, leg or foot. A herniation in your cervical spine can cause problems in your neck, shoulders, arms and hands.
Treatment depends on your injury. You may benefit from rest, medications, injections and physical therapy. If these don’t help, you may need surgery. Your doctor will create a care plan that’s right for you.