Q: I was diagnosed with a herniated disk, which causes pain in my back and leg. What can I do about this?
A: A herniated disk is an injury of the spine. The cushioning disks between the bones (vertebrae) in the spine have two components—a gel-filled center and a tougher outer portion, like a jelly doughnut. The outer part can weaken and crack, allowing the gel-filled portion to leak out and press on nearby nerves. This can happen anywhere along the spine, but herniated disks most often occur in the lower back or the neck. In the lower back, the herniated disk can pinch the sciatic nerve, which extends through the buttocks and down the back of the leg. This may cause pain, numbness and tingling in the buttocks or leg.