The discs in your back function as a rubbery cushion between the vertebrae (bones) which make up the spine. They act as a natural shock absorbers between the vertebrae. Through hard falls, direct impact and other injuries a disc can bulge or break open. When a disc becomes torn, cracked or bulges this is what's referred to as a herniated disc.
Ruptured discs can be caused through aging or injury and can be experienced in any part of the spine, from the neck to the bottom of the back. As an individual ages, discs become dry and brittle, leaving them more susceptible to tearing, cracks and injury.
Herniated discs often cause pain, numbness, weakness and put pressure on nerve roots. Often the Sciatic nerve is impacted by herniated discs, causing pain and numbness in the legs.