View from above of normal disc with healthy nerve root and of herniated disc with pinched, inflamed nerve

The bones (vertebrae) that form the spine (backbone) are cushioned by small, round, flat discs. When these discs are damaged from an injury, normal wear and tear, or disease, they may bulge or break open. This is called a herniated or slipped disc.

If the herniated disc presses on a nerve root (pinched nerve), it may cause pain, numbness, or tingling in the area of the body to which the nerve travels.

Current as of: June 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Kenneth J. Koval MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
Robert B. Keller MD - Orthopedics