We have many vertebrae in our spinal column. Between these vertebrae, discs of cartilage are sandwiched that act as cushions between the two bony surfaces of the adjoining vertebrae. When the cartilage becomes weak and bulges out form between its two vertebrae, it is known as a slipped disc. The slipped disc may no longer be an effective cushion, and the two vertebrae may rub against each other and pinch a nerve that is caught between them, causing intense pain known as lumbago.
The inter-vertebral disc is a flexible pad consisting jelly like core surrounded by a fibrous cover. It lies directly in between two vertebrae ad acts as a shock absorber.
If the bulge of the disc is to one side, it may press on a nerve branch of the spinal cord. In this case, the person will feel pain in the area connected by that nerve, such as the leg or arm. It the bulge pushes straight back into the spinal cord itself, the person may feel pain in the back, neck or chest.
In case of a problem of slipped disc, one should consult an orthopedic surgeon. In acute cases, the surgeon will remove the disc and fuse the two vertebrae together, sacrificing some flexibility in the patient’s back in return for relief from pain.