A herniated disc is a common back and neck problem in which the tough outer layer of cartilage cracks and some of the soft jelly-like cartilage in the center of the disc slips out. Discs, rubbery cushions between the bones in the spine (vertebrae), absorb shock when you walk or run. Cartilage cushions and protects joints, preventing bones from rubbing against each other.
A herniated disc is also called a “slipped” or “ruptured” disc. Sometimes, the herniated disc irritates nerves near the disc, causing pain and other symptoms. But some herniated discs aren’t painful.
Herniated discs are usually caused by normal wear and tear on the spine. Sometimes, lifting heavy things the wrong way or twisting and turning while lifting something can cause a herniated disc. Rarely, a fall or getting hit on the back can cause this.