Spinal discs are round, flat gel-filled ligaments that act as a cushion in between each of the vertebrae in your spine. While somewhat pliant, these discs have a tough exterior to provide support and provide a wide range of motion – think of them as a shock absorber for your spine.
When a disc starts to break down or deteriorate, pain is caused directly from the disc itself, but can also press on the spinal cord or the spinal nerves. Common disc problems are a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease.
A herniated disc occurs when inner disc material protrudes through a tear in a smaller portion of the disc. This type of protrusion is more likely to cause pain than a bulge, and is more common in a younger population.