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A spinal disc is made up of a hard exterior surrounding a softer, jelly-like interior. A herniated disc occurs when part of the interior substance leaks out past the exterior of the disc and presses against the nerves around it, resulting in pain, numbness, and weakness in the arm or leg.
The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, through the hips and buttocks, and down into each leg. Sciatica occurs when some part of that nerve is pinched—whether from a herniated disc, a compressed spine, or some other condition—causing pain and numbness in the lower back and legs.
Back pain can occur in the lower, middle, or upper back and may be caused by injury, degeneration, muscles and nerve problems, or a number of other conditions. Depending on the severity, back pain may be treated with physical therapy, medication, or surgery.
When pressure is put on a nerve and that nerve is compressed, it often results in pain and numbness. If a spinal nerve is compressed, which happens when a spinal disc is torn or weakened, pain may radiate in the upper, middle, or lower back, as well as into the shoulders, arms, and legs.
When a damaged or torn spinal disc presses against a spinal nerve, it can result in numbness (as well as pain), in the back, arms, and legs.
Used to treat both lower and upper back pain, an epidural steroid can be injected into the lumbar area (for lower back and sciatica pain) or the epidural space surrounding spinal nerve roots (for upper back and neck pain).
When a group of nerves is causing pain, a nerve-numbing substance may be injected into the affected area of the body as treatment. Nerve blocks may be used to alleviate pain, to determine exact sources of pain, to prevent pain, or as an alternative to surgery.