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Although it is uncomfortable, back or neck pain from a slipped disc typically isn’t serious cause for concern.

However, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience: significant weakness in both legs, loss of bladder control, or loss of bowel control.

Lower back pain is a common malady. Between 60 and 80 percent of us will experience low back pain at some point in our lives. In many cases, the cause of the lower back pain is a herniated disc, commonly referred to as a “slipped disc.”
*Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Slipped Disc Overview

Two dozen small bones, called vertebrae, are stacked on top of one another to form a flexible canal that protects the spinal cord. Soft, rubbery discs between the vertebrae act as cushions and allow the spinal column to flex and bend. Each disc is comprised of an outer ring of cartilage, called the annulus, which surrounds the gel-like nucleus. When a portion of the nucleus pushes through a tiny tear in the cartilage, the slipped disc can put pressure on spinal nerves and may cause pain, weakness or numbness.


  • A sharp, shooting pain that extends down the back of one leg if the herniated disc is along the lower back, or a sharp, shooting pain down one arm if the injured disc is in the neck
  • Pain in the muscles of the neck and shoulder if the herniated disc is in your neck
  • Tingling in one leg, the buttocks or one arm
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Burning pain in the neck, shoulders or arm

Risk Factors

  • Age - Discs become less flexible and weaken as you grow older.
  • Smoking increases your risk because it decreases oxygen levels in your blood, speeding the degeneration.
  • Excessive weight
  • Improper lifting
  • Sedentary lifestyle