Skip to main content
Slipped disc

A slipped disc, also called a prolapsed or herniated disc, is where a soft cushion of tissue between the bones in your spine pushes out of place.

Symptoms of a slipped disc include lower back pain, neck pain and difficulty bending your back.

The pain from a slipped disc usually gets better if you stay active and take painkillers. A GP may prescribe stronger painkillers if you need them.

A slipped disc can be caused by things like ageing, exercising too hard or lifting heavy objects the wrong way.

Read more on the NHS website.

Symptoms of a slipped disc include lower back pain, neck pain and difficulty bending your back.

Check if it's a slipped disc

A slipped disc (also called a prolapsed or herniated disc) can cause:

Not all slipped discs cause symptoms. Many people will never know they have slipped a disc.

Read more on the NHS website.

The pain from a slipped disc usually gets better if you stay active and take painkillers. A GP may prescribe stronger painkillers if you need them.

Self-care

Keep active

If the pain is very bad, you may need to rest at first. But start gentle exercise as soon as you can – it'll help you get better faster.

The type of exercise is not important, just gradually increase your activity level.

Take painkillers

Alternate painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol. Paracetamol on its own is not recommended for back pain.

Take them regularly (up to the recommended daily amount) rather than just when the pain is particularly bad. This will help you to keep moving.

Medical treatments

Your GP might prescribe a stronger painkiller, a steroid injection or a muscle relaxant to use in the short term.

If your symptoms do not get better, your GP might recommend further tests, like an MRI scan.

They might also refer you to a physiotherapist. Physiotherapy from the NHS might not be available everywhere and waiting times can be long. You can also get it privately.

Read more on the NHS website.

A slipped disc can be caused by things like ageing, exercising too hard or lifting heavy objects the wrong way.

Read more on the NHS website.