The Disc is what we call the strong cartilage that is between each of the vertebrae in your spine. It consists of several strong concentric rings like you would see in a tree or a multi-ply tire. Within the Disc is the Nucleus, a jelly like substance in the middle of the disc which supports the weight above it when you stand. The Discs themselves are made of approximately 70% water, therefor, they must remain hydrated. When they dry out, the walls or rings of the disc become fragile and can form cracks. The jelly like material in the Nucleus squeezes through these cracks, causing the Disc to Bulge and in severe cases the material will Herniate or go completely through the disc walls in the direction of and pass through the cracks. This Herniation then puts pressure on the nerves and or spinal cord at the level of the spine where the it occurs.
The most common symptoms are dependent on what level the disc herniation is. For example, in the neck, a disc herniation can cause, pain, electric shocks, numbness and tingling in the shoulders, arms and hands. A hernia is much more severe than a disc bulge and may cause a total loss of strength and even more severe pain. In the low back, one could experience those same symptoms in their hips, legs and feet. Most people know the term “sciatica” which is typically caused by a disc bulge or hernia putting pressure on the sciatic nerve in the low back and leg.