The discs in our back act as shock absorbers in between our vertebrae. Normally, when we are healthy, our discs are sponge-like and allow our spine a greater range of motion. As we get older or get injured, our discs encounter deterioration that can tear the outer shell and lead it to break open, forcing the gel inside to come out.
While it can happen in almost any part of the spine, most herniated discs occur in the lumbar or cervical regions. Pain is the end result when these discs lose their ability to support our vertebrae.