For more information, please see our frequently asked questions about herniated discs.

What is a vertebral disc?

The disc is the cushion between the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae.  The disc is cartilage on the outside and a gel-like center or nucleus on the inside.

 

What is disc herniation or disc bulging?

The disc is subject to many external forces that can result in disc dehydration, disc bulging or disc herniation which can put pressure on the surrounding nerves.  This can cause shooting “radiating” pain from the neck into the arm/shoulder blade or the low back into the leg.  Careful history, physical examination, and if needed imaging, can determine the cause and course of treatment.  Treatment in most cases is conservative and nonsurgical consistent with our philosophy that surgery may be indicated but it is not the primary approach.