To help better understand the topic at hand here is a small anatomy lesson on the back: The bones that form our backs are called vertebrae. Each vertebra is cushioned and surrounded by discs. Discs provide cushion and support between each vertebra in our spinal columns. Over time and with injuries, the discs can become herniated and/or slip. The most common places this occurs are in the neck (cervical) or the lower back (lumbar). The most common symptoms of a herniated disc are pain, weakness in the neck or arms, or numbness. In order to diagnose this condition the patient will need to be examined by a physician that specializes in spinal conditions. The physician will initially assess the patient by asking questions to determine their concerns and expectations regarding their treatment and care. At that time the doctor will most likely perform a physical examination and order an MRI, CT scan or X-ray. It is then recommended the patient to rest and refrain from activities that aggravate their neck or cause any pain to that area. After careful review of test results the doctor will determine which treatment best suits the patient. Typically physical therapy is ordered first in conjunction with medicine to treat any inflammation. In most cases this will aid in pain relief for the patient. In other cases the doctor may need to give the patient steroids injections which also help with inflammation. Finally, in extreme cases, or if the herniated disc is squeezing the spinal cord, the doctor may perform a surgery known as a discectomy. Regardless of the treatment route you take the end goal is the same; lead a happy, healthy, pain free life.