Herniated Disc and Pinched Nerve

Picture of a normal disc compared to a herniated disc (cross section)

Illustration copyright 2004 by Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.nucleusinc.com

The bones (vertebrae) that form the spine (backbone) are cushioned by small, round, flat discs. When these discs are damaged from an injury, normal wear and tear, or disease, they may bulge abnormally or break open. This is called a herniated or slipped disc.

If the herniated disc presses on a nerve root (pinched nerve), it may cause pain, numbness, or tingling in the area of the body to which the nerve travels.

Current as ofSeptember 20, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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