When the soft, gelatinous central portion of an intervertebral disk is forced through a weakened part of a disk, it is a condition known as a slipped disk. Most herniation takes place in the lumbar area of the spine, and it is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. The mainstay of treatment for herniated disks is an initial period of rest with pain and anti-inflammatory medications followed by physical therapy. If pain and symptoms persist, surgery to remove the herniated portion of the intervertebral disk is recommended.
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.