A herniated disk refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (disks) that sit between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack to make your spine.
A spinal disk has a soft, jellylike center (nucleus) encased in a tougher, rubbery exterior (annulus). Sometimes called a slipped disk or a ruptured disk, a herniated disk occurs when some of the nucleus pushes out through a tear in the annulus.
A herniated disk, which can occur in any part of the spine, can irritate a nearby nerve. Depending on where the herniated disk is, it can result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg.
Many people have no symptoms from a herniated disk. Surgery is usually not necessary to relieve the problem.ou should consult with your doctor for any neck or back significant enough to limit activity, any back pain that lasts more than a few days, or any neck or back pain associated with numbness or weakness, loss of bladder or bowel control, fever, or abdominal or chest pain. The doctor may suggest an urgent office evaluation or may advise you to go to the hospital’s emergency department.
Any injury that may suggest more significant back or neck problems, such as a fall from a height or a direct blow to the spine, should be evaluated at the hospital’s emergency department. Consider calling an ambulance. Medical teams can immobilize the spine and protect against further damage.
You should also seek emergency evaluation if the pain or symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from walking, are associated with severe numbness or weakness of any extremity, are associated with loss of bowel or bladder control, or are associated symptoms not readily explained by the spine problem (such as fever, abdominal pain, or chest pain).