A herniated disk is a painful condition which affects the spine. It refers to a tear in the outer, fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc that allows the central portion to bulge out beyond the damaged outer rings. Symptoms of a herniated disc can vary depending on the location of the problem and the types of tissue that become injured. Pain can range from barely noticeable sensations to severe and unrelenting neck or lower back pain that will radiate into the areas served by affected nerve roots that are irritated or impinged by the herniated material.
Disc herniations can result from general wear and tear, such as when performing jobs that require constant sitting and squatting or driving (sedentary lifestyle). However, herniations also results from tasks that require strenuous physical activity. Professional athletes, especially those playing contact sports, are at high risk for disc herniations.