DEAR DOCTOR K: I have a herniated disk in my lower back. What does this mean? And what are my treatment options?
DEAR READER: Your spine is made up of a stack of bones called vertebrae. In between each of the vertebrae are intervertebral disks that cushion these bones. Each disk is made of a soft gel core surrounded by a tough, fibrous outer shell. A disk's outer shell can tear. If the gel in the middle of the disk bulges out through the tear in the shell, the condition is called a herniated disk.