What is a disc herniation?
A herniated disc refers to an issue of the spine in which the interior portion of a spinal disc (nucleus pulposus) pushes outward through a rupture in the disc's exterior (annulus fibrosus). Herniations can lead to a number of problems including irritation of nearby nerves, numbness, weakness, and usually, extreme pain. Some literature compares the pain of a herniated disc to the pain of labor. However, in some cases, symptoms of the herniation are more subtle, leading to the issue to go uncorrected.
How can I tell if I have a herniated disc?