Herniated disks are most common in the lumbar spine--the part of your backbone between the bottom of your ribs and your hips. Disks are the soft "cushions" between the bones of the spine. The disks in the spine let you move your backbone.
When a disk between two bones in the spine presses on the nerves around the backbone, it's called a herniated disk. The word "herniate" means to bulge or to stick out. Sometimes this is called a ruptured or slipped disk.
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Low Back Pain
Many things can cause low back injuries--muscle strain or spasm, sprains of ligaments (which attach bone to bone), joint problems or a "slipped disk." The most common cause is using your back muscles in activities you're not used to, like lifting heavy furniture or doing yard work. View all braces for Lower Back Pain
Sacroiliac Joint Discomfort
A painful sacroiliac joint is one of the more common causes of mechanical low back pain. Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is a term that is used to describe the condition - because it is still unclear why this joint becomes painful and leads to low back pain. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be a nuisance but it is seldom dangerous and rarely leads to the need for surgery. Most people who suffer from this problem can reduce the pain and manage the problem with simple methods.
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Low back pain and/or leg pain that usually travels down the large sciatic nerve, from the lower back down the back of each leg, is generally referred to as sciatica and is fairly common. This pain can be caused when a nerve root in the lower spine that helps form the sciatic nerve is pinched or irritated. Sciatica is usually caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc (also referred to as a ruptured disc, pinched nerve, slipped disk, etc.) in the lumbar spine.
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Upper Back Problems
The most common cause of upper back pain is muscular irritation or other soft tissue (e.g. ligament) problems. These can arise from lack of strength, poor posture, overuse injuries (such as repetitive motion), or a trauma (such as a car accident or sports injury). Muscular strain in the upper back is usually treated by one or a combination of the following: exercise, physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, massage therapy, acupuncture and hot and cold therapy.
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