What is a Herniated Disc?

A Herniated Disc refers to a problem with the cushion-like-cartilage (the disc) between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack up to make your spine. The Herniated Disc occurs when this cartilage is torn, and the gelatin-like core of the disc leaks. A Herniated Disc can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg.


While some people experience no pain or trouble, some suffer from severe symptoms. The most common signs and symptoms of a Herniated Disc are:

  • Arm or leg pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Weakness


A Herniated Disc can be caused by sudden trauma or long-term pressure on the spine. The condition mostly affects the people aged between 30 and 50 years. As you age, your spinal disc lose some of their water content. That makes them less flexible and more prone to tearing or rupturing with even a minor strain or twist. Most people can't pinpoint the exact cause of their herniated disc. Sometimes, using your back muscles instead of your leg and thigh muscles to lift large, heavy objects can lead to a Herniated Disc, as can twisting and turning while lifting. Rarely, a traumatic event such as a fall or a blow to the back can cause a Herniated Disc.


Men are twice as likely to be diagnosed as women with Herniated Disc.The diagnosis of Herniated Disc will be done by a Physical Therapist who will conduct a thorough evaluation that includes taking your health history. Your Physical Therapist will also ask you detailed questions about your injury and might do some physical tests to find the problem.


Careful and conservative treatment avoiding painful positions, following a planned exercise and pain-medication regimen will help people relieve the symptoms of Herniated Disc. Surgery isn’t a common treatment method for Herniated Discs.


Doctors might prescribe medications such as NSAID, Cortisone injections, and Nerve pain medications.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy is advised for effective healing and pain management. At our Optimum Rehab Physical Therapy offices in New York City expert therapists will show positions and exercises to help people with Herniated Disc regain movement, reduce pain and get back to their regular activities. As the pain improves, we can advance you to a rehabilitation program of core strength and stability to maximize your back health and help protect against future injury.