The intervertebral discs consist of a cartilaginous outer ring and a gelatinous core. With increasing age and wear, the elasticity of the material decreases and the cartilaginous outer ring becomes brittle. Thus, due to a sudden higher load, the inner core material of the intervertebral disc can protrude outwards and press against the nerve structures. If this happens, we speak of a herniated disc. Typical symptoms are severe pain in the limbs (cervical spine, arms, lumbar spine, legs), as the nerves under pressure run from the spine to them.
If the pressure on the nerve structures becomes too great, this can even lead to sensory disturbances and even paralysis.