Home > Causes of Back Pain > Slipped Disc

Slipped Disc

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 28 Nov 2014 | comments*Discuss
Slipped Disc Disc Back Expert Vertebrae

What are Discs?

Each of us has circular pads – or discs – of connective tissue that slide in between the bones of the spine known as vertebrae. These discs have the task of cushioning these vertebrae (which are very thin) when you run jump or even sit down heavily in a chair. The discs themselves are essentially a fibrous casing inside of which is a gel-like substance.

What is a Slipped Disc?

A slipped disc is perhaps misleading in its name because the disc itself does not essentially slip from its original position. Instead the disc ruptures and the jelly like innards push out through the vertebrae. This damaged disc – or these damaged discs as sometimes more than one disc can ‘slip’ given the nature of the injury – can put pressure on the entire length of spinal cord or can simply rub against a single nerve. Thus far the disc can cause pain in and around the area of the vertebrae or can cause pain in the part of the body that corresponds to any nerve endings it touches.

Most commonly the problem will occur in the lower back but any of the discs in the upper back and neck can also slip and cause a similar problem.

Symptoms of a Slipped Disc

Many people who have problems with a slipped disc may never even know but in a great many other cases the sufferer will be subject to pain, which can come and go in short bursts or be persistent in and around the area of the disc. As we have already mentioned the pain can also be distributed to those parts of the body that are in direct relation to any nerves in the back upon which the disc is touching.

One of the most common symptoms of a slipped disc is Sciatica: this condition affects the Sciatic nerve which a large nerve in the back made up of several smaller nerves which travel down the back, through the buttocks and down into the backs of the legs. Pressure on the Sciatic nerve can lead to a persistent aching, numbness or a tingling sensation in either leg.

Other symptoms include stiffening of the muscles, muscle paralysis and even uncontrollable muscle spasms. Some people suffering from this condition often relate their experiences to their GP as being similar to the cramp one might have in their leg if they sit on it.

Slipped discs normally come about as the result of bending incorrectly or being employed in a job that requires a lot of heavy lifting. If you are employed in such a job you should have received correct lifting and handling training; if not you should seek to have this training as soon as possible. Smoking is also a common factor as is being overweight.

If you feel that any of the symptoms mentioned relate to a problem you are suffering from it is important to consult your GP as soon as you can. He or she will carry out a few simple tests to try and confirm if indeed a slipped disc is the cause of your pain. They will test your reflexes, your ability to walk, the sensations you feel in your arms and legs and also the strength of the muscles in your limbs.

On occasions where these tests do not provide a definitive diagnosis your GP should arrange for either an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or a CT (Computerised Tomography) scan to be carried out. These are painless examinations but can prove very useful in identifying problems in and around the back area.

Again it is important to stress that if any of these problems occur your GP should be contacted as soon as possible to help minimise any further damage to the spinal cord and also your back as a whole.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Micky
    Re: Ligament Damage and Back Pain
    I had prolapse of rectum op in 2001.he also said he had repaired a ligament.cane home couldn't bare down to open bowels.lost…
    21 April 2017
  • Vis
    Re: Spinal Dislocation
    i have enjoyed the literature.
    17 April 2017
  • KFreedOM
    Re: Dehydrated Discs
    I'm so glad to have read this article about dehydration affecting the disc. It just happened to be something that I was curious about and decided…
    26 December 2016
  • Kal
    Re: Dehydrated Discs
    I was suffering from sciatic pain for nearly 1 year and don't have any idea what is the reason for pain. After 1 year 3 weeks back I went to…
    26 November 2016
  • Skb24 going on 75
    Re: Dehydrated Discs
    I am 24 and i have severe back pain i have a buldging disc in my L1 and L5 almost my entire lower lumbar is dehydrated and i have lost nearly 50%…
    21 November 2016
  • billa
    Re: Dehydrated Discs
    I am 25. My mri result shows I hv got dehydration of L4/5 disc.my doctor advice me to take Diclofenac and hv physiotherapy ,but I Still hv pain…
    16 October 2016
  • Salsybar
    Re: Dehydrated Discs
    Hello all Im a newbie on here ...my long road started 4 years ago I had always been a fitness fanatic..vegetarian and look after myself At the…
    14 October 2016
  • Lorie
    Re: Dehydrated Discs
    All dics on mri are dehydrated with bulging at c4 and c5 also L4 and L5 amd an elongated conus medullaris. I have radiculopathy from neck to…
    7 October 2016
  • madan
    Re: Spinal Dislocation
    My father is 51 his spin has dislocated Lower region due to this he suffer pain on his one whole leg suggests me what should we do
    13 September 2016
  • zane
    Re: Spinal Dislocation
    I can literally see one of the nobs(disks or whatever it's called) on my back that is moved to right of my spine and out of line with the rest…
    25 August 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the BackPainExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.