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Most herniated discs are natural, age-related, wear and tear of the spine. Of course they can be caused by an injury such as a slip and fall.

Spinal discs are less dense than bone and their function is to cushion each vertebra and absorb forces placed on the spine (weight bearing and gravitational). Discs are made of a cartalige-like tissue and contain more liquid than bones do. As we get older our discs dry out and shrink.

The result is a thin, flattened out disc. It is the most common form of a herniated disc and is usually accompanied by degenerative joint desease (DJD).

In some instances, spinal vertebra crack and disc material seeps into the vertebral body. Oftentimes the edges of the disc crack causing the disc to buldge outside its normal boundry. Occasionally, a piece of disc will break off and float around in the spinal area (sequestered). All of these scenarios are considered 'herniated discs'.


If you have a herniated disc and, are NOT a surgical candidate, it important to keep your spine aligned and flexible. This will help slow down or possibly halt progression of the herniation. 

Of Note:  Two thirds of all herniated discs are asymptomatic (don't hurt). Acute herniations from injuries aside, most herniations, are discovered as a 'secondary finding'. That is when the clinician wants to rule out another medical conditions.