Between each and every vertebrae lies a vertebral disc. Strong and rubbery, these discs absorb shock, protecting the vertebrae and the joints within, and allow you to properly twist and bend your body. If damaged, the soft center can push through the wall of the disc and press against nerves in the spine.
A herniated disc is a common spinal problem – it is often caused simply by the wear and tear that comes along as we age. The discs wear down with use, and become far more prone to tearing and bulging out. On the other hand, a herniated disc can be caused by traumatic injuries, or by lifting heavy objects.