Definition: A hernia is the protrusion of an organ or part of an organ (most often the intestine) out of its usual position. A herniated disc is the protrusion of a portion of an intervertebral disc.

Between each of the 24 movable vertebrae of the spine is an intervertebral disc formed of a fibrous and solid structure which contains a gelatinous nucleus (see diagram). These discs give flexibility to the column and serve as shock absorbers in the event of an impact. A herniated disc occurs when a disc weakens, cracks, or ruptures and part of the gelatinous core breaks out.

Symptoms of the disease (source

  • Low back pain
  • Leg and/or foot pain
  • Numbness and tingling sensation in the leg and/or foot
  • Leg and/or foot weakness
  • Urinary or anal incontinence (extremely rare). It can reveal a more serious problem called cauda equina syndrome. It is caused by compression of the nerve roots. This is a surgical emergency.