Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What does it mean to have a slipped disc?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat does it mean to have a slipped disc?


I work concrete everyday. In my twenties, male. My back has been aching in the lower part. Could I have a slipped disc? What does this mean?


A slipped disc (also known as a herniated disc) is a type of injury to the spinal column. It occurs when the cartilage in between your vertebrae bulges out from the spinal column. This bulge can come into contact with nerves in the area which can cause pain. A herniated disc is an injury that can occur because of heavy lifting or trauma to the back. Usually the injury is treated with physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications. While a herniated disc does cause pain in the lower back, it usually localizes to one side or the other. Plus, people often report shooting pain that goes down one of the legs. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can listen to your description of your symptoms and perform a thorough back exam. If your doctor is at all concerned that you have something serious, then you may need to get some imaging of your lower back including an x-ray or even possibly an MRI. If you do have a herniated disc, you will be able to begin treatment right away. If that treatment fails, then you can explore the possibility of surgery sometime in the future.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.