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The spinal column is made up of a series of bones (vertebrae) stacked onto each other. The spinal column includes seven bones in the cervical spine, twelve in the thoracic spine, and five in the lumbar spine. Discs are sponge-like cushions that rest between the bones of the spine which protects the bones by absorbing the shocks from daily activities like walking, lifting, running and turning, Each disc has two parts: a soft, gelatinous inner portion and a tough outer ring. Weakness or injury can cause the inner portion of the disc to protrude through the outer ring. This is known as a slipped, herniated, or prolapsed disc which causes pain and discomfort. When a disc bulges or herniates outwards, it can cause irritation or pressure on the spinal nerves, resulting in a condition known as sciatica.
When the slipped disc compresses one of the spinal nerves, you may experience numbness and pain along the affected nerve. The sciatica nerve starts in the lower spine and travels through your hip and buttock and down the back of your leg to your foot. Sciatica occurs when pain travels along the path of the sciatic nerve which is characterized by back and leg pain and weakness.