Your spinal column is made up of a series of bones (vertebrae) stacked onto each other. From top to bottom, the column includes seven bones in the cervical spine, 12 in the thoracic spine, and five in the lumbar spine, followed by the sacrum and the coccyx at the base. These bones are cushioned by disks. The disks protect the bones by absorbing the shocks from daily activities like walking, lifting, and twisting.
Each disk has two parts: a soft, gelatinous inner portion and a tough outer ring. Injury or weakness can cause the inner portion of the disk to protrude through the outer ring. This is known as a slipped, herniated, or prolapsed disk. This causes pain and discomfort. If the slipped disk compresses one of your spinal nerves, you may also experience numbness and pain along the affected nerve. In severe instances, you may require surgery to remove or repair the slipped disk.
You can have a slipped disk in any part of your spine, from your neck to your lower back. The lower back is one of the more common areas for slipped disks. Your spinal column is an intricate network of nerves and blood vessels. A slipped disk can place extra pressure on the nerves and muscles around it.
Symptoms of a slipped disk include: