Back Pain

What Is a Herniated Disc?

If you’re experiencing pain, numbness, or weakness in your thighs or shoulder, interestingly enough, it could be from a herniated disc. This is a spinal problem whose symptoms vary with each patient, but without proper management and examination, having a herniated disc complicate into something far more serious.


To understand what a herniated disc is, we must first understand how the spine works. 

Your spine is made up of bones, but in order to provide your back with a range of movement, the bones have discs in between each bone to allow some degree of flexibility. This allows you to bend and move your back around.

The discs are sealed within an exterior casing. Wear and tear can cause this casing to wear out, thus, making a rupture in the casing more likely. When this happens, the disc may slip out and essentially irritate the nerves in your spinal cord.

Depending on the location of the slipped disc, this may affect your thighs (a slip in your lower back) or your shoulders (a slipped disc higher up in your back). No matter the cause or the location, this can cause numbness, tingling, weakness, not to mention pain, in the affected areas where the nerves have been disrupted by the stress exerted by the herniated disc.

How Do I Prevent This?

Age-related wear and tear may be one of the most common causes, but this doesn’t mean a herniated disc cannot be prevented.

The best way to prevent injury is to partake in exercises that strengthen your back muscles in order to support your spine. Maintaining good posture also relieves the stress from your spine. It is important to treat your spine well by taking as much pressure off it as possible; this will go a long way to preventing a herniated disc from occurring in the first place.


There are a few non-surgical options that we can discuss when it comes to a herniated disc. One of them being DOC decompression. At Progressive Rehabilitation Medicine, we like to do a thorough examination to determine the root cause and then find out how to best treat a patient. There may be one option or a couple, including injections to affected areas, that can help to alleviate pain and pressure.

To learn more about the best non-surgical solutions for your disc, contact us at Progressive Rehabilitation Medicine to find out the best therapy option for you. Dr. Sunny Kim is rated one of Cedar Rapids BEST pain management doctors, so you are in good hands.

To watch Dr. Kim discuss DOC decompression, click here.