A herniated disc in back appears when the annulus fibrosus or outer fibrous ring of a lumbar intervertebral disc is ripped by several problems prompting the nucleus pulposus or the soft central portion of the disc to bulge out. Even in the absence of nerve root compression, the discharge of inflammatory chemical mediators called tumor-necrosis factor alpha (TNF) can cause intense pain. If left neglected, the disc could herniate and the nucleus pulposus leak out, which could lead to a pinched nerve and also trigger back pain.
Lumbar disc herniations normally occur in the lower back, specifically between the 4th lumbar vertebrae all the way down to the sacrum (L4 to L5 and to S1).
A “Slipped Disc”? Often wrongly called slipped disc, a herniated disc cannot slip since it is affixed and squeezed between two vertebrae.The intervertebral disc, however, could be compressed, stretched and twisted out of its placement in small degrees or stages.
The stages are outlined below:
- Bulging Disc. Viewed as a contained disc disorder, the disc presents itself as an inflammed mass because of the expansion of its annulus fibrosus.
- Protruding Disc. Still a contained disc, it protrudes into the spinal canal and squeeze on the nerve producing pain. The disc hasn’t broken open at this stage.
- Herniated or ruptured disc. By now viewed as a non-contained disc disorder, the nucleus pulposus has spilled out into the spinal canal because of the rip in the disc.
Reports have presented that bulging discs are more typical than herniated discs. However, herniated discs can cause serious discomfort. For some people, pain may not be included even with a bulging or herniated disc in back.