A herniated disc occurs when the outer shell (annulus) of a vertebral disc is torn, and some of the inside (nucleus) herniates (leaks out). This can affect the spinal nerves and cause leg and/or back pain often manifesting as shooting pain down one or, uncommonly, both legs. The pain will typically travel from the back or buttocks to below the knee. Another possible symptom is back pain, which often started before the actual herniation. Herniation can often be traced back to a specific episode of the back "going out", or of significant pain that resolved over a period of days with rest and was usually not accompanied by leg pain.
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