Spinal discs are soft, discs that act as cushions between the vertebrae of the spine. Each disc is soft in the middle and encased in a tougher outer layer of cartilage. In the case of a herniated disc—also known as a slipped or ruptured disc—the soft inner center of the disk leaks out of a crack or cracks in the outer layer. While most herniated discs occur in the lumbar spine (the low back), they also can occur in the cervical spine (the neck). If a lumbar spine disc herniation places pressure on a nerve, it can cause pain, weakness, and numbness in the buttocks, thigh, calf, and foot. If a cervical spine disc herniation places pressure on a nerve, it can cause pain, weakness, and numbness in the shoulder and arm. Disc degeneration is a normal part of the aging process, but there are certain things that can speed up the degenerative process leading to herniated disc. Some examples include lifting heavy objects with the back instead of the leg muscles, being overweight, inheriting a genetic predisposition, or working in a job that requires repetitive manual labor. In very rare cases, disc herniation can compress the nerve roots at the base of the spain, causing paralysis. If symptoms worsen, the saddle region of the body becomes numb, or bladder or bowel problems arise, emergency medical attention may be necessary.