For Your Information Only.
The Intervertebral Discs are located in the spine between each of the vertebra. The discs have a gel centre and a tough fibrous outer ring. They are mainly responsible for shock absorption through the spine.
Repetitive strain can cause small cracks/ tears in the outer ring of the disc. The gel can seep into these cracks to the edge of the disc and cause it to bulge, this is called a herniated disc where it can irritate a nerve or the pain-sensitive posterior longitudinal ligament. If the gel breaks through the edge of the disc, this is called a prolapsed disc and is more severe.
Disc problems are most commonly precipitated by injury, but may also occur in the absence of any remembered injury. My patients can link it to picking up something very light e.g. a pencil. The injury probably occurred previously however the body was working hard to repair it and keeping you pain free however picking up that pencil was one bend too much!
A lumbar (lower back) disc herniation can cause low back pain, buttock ache and restricted movement, most commonly bending forward. If the nerve is irritated or compressed then a shooting pain into the leg and ankle can occur with possible tingling, numbness and weakness.