Question: What Is A Herniated Disc And How Do I Know If I Have One?
Answer: In order to answer this question, I would first need to describe a typical intervertebral disc. Each disc consists of the nucleus, which is the central part of the disc and the annulus, which is the ring which encompasses the nucleus.
The nucleus is a gel-like, semi-fluid substance which works as a shock absorber and a distributor of the load between the two adjacent vertebrae. The annulus, which is much more rigid because it consists of fibrous tissue contains the nucleus and prevents it from leaking.
If the are small fissures in the annulus, the content of the nucleus can leak through the annulus, which creates the disc herniation. Not each herniation will be painful to the patient, but if it compresses the spinal nerves or some pain receptors, it can manifest itself by the patient having low back pain, quite often radiating to the patient's leg.
Can A Physical Exam Determine That I Have A Herniated Disc?