Health A-Z

Ruptured Disc

Clinical Definition

Family practice, Orthopedics, Physical medicine & rehab

In Our Own Words

In between each vertebra in the spine is a disc that acts as a cushion. Each disc is made up of two parts. The outer ring of the disc is a ligament connecting the vertebrae called the annulus. The center of each disc contains a soft, gelatinous material referred to as the nucleus pulposus.

A ruptured disc occurs when the annulus experiences continuous damage, causing the nucleus pulposus to burst out of its space. This in turn increases pressure on the spine’s nerves. When the disc is located in the lower back (the most typical site), back and leg pain also may result.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Pain in one or both legs
  • Leg numbness
  • Muscle weakness in the legs
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