Spinal discs between the vertebra of the backbone are soft, jelly like structures which keep the vertebrae in place and act as shock absorbers. When the soft interior of one of the discs slips out of place, the condition is known as a herniated disc.
The damaged disc can result from either a bulge or a protrusion. In both cases the soft gel pushes out slightly from the disc but with a bulge it is evenly distributed around the circumference while with a protrusion it pushes out asymmetrically in different places. A third scenario known as an extrusion occurs when the gel balloons extensively outside the vertebrae or breaks off from the disk.
A herniated disc can be identified by different symptoms which all vary based on the severity of the damage. The most common of these include the following.
1. Pain and numbness on one side of the body
Pain or numbness is often experienced by individuals suffering from a herniated disc. The pain is experienced by many on one side of the body only. This symptom occurs when the herniation is large enough to press on the adjacent spinal nerves exiting at the level of the herniation.
The result of this compression causes shooting pains on one side of the body, also known as sciatica. Depending on the location of the herniated disc, the pain may shoot down the buttock to the back of the thigh and down the leg.