Synonyms: Herniated disc, Slipped disc
Medical Specialties: Family practice, Orthopedics, Physical medicine & rehab
A ruptured disc may develop when there is deterioration of the annulus, which is the fibrocartilaginous material that surrounds the intervertebral disc. Continued damage or deterioration to the annulus may cause a rupture of the nucleus pulposus from its normal space and force it outward. When this occurs, pressure is placed on the spinal nerve, causing pain.
In between each vertebra in the spine is a disc that acts as a cushion. Each disc is made up of two parts. The outer ring of the disc is a ligament connecting the vertebrae called the annulus. The center of each disc contains a soft, gelatinous material referred to as the nucleus pulposus.
A ruptured disc occurs when the annulus experiences continuous damage, causing the nucleus pulposus to burst out of its space. This in turn increases pressure on the spine’s nerves. When the disc is located in the lower back (the most typical site), back and leg pain also may result.