Not medical advice: Discs serve as cushion between the vertebrae in your spine and keep them in place. They're made of an outer layer of tough cartilage that covers softer cartilage in the middle.
Aging is the most common cause of a bulging disc. As you age, the shock-absorbing discs between the vertebrae lose water, making them flatter, stiff and more damage prone. Other causes include genetics, injury, poor lifestyle choices such as smoking and a lack of exercise, and posture and muscle imbalances.
A disc loses its natural elastic recoil. Minor trauma increases pressure of the disc’s central core, stretching and stressing the outer fibrous ring without going back to its exact shape. When this cycle happens repeatedly over an extended period of time, a bulging disc results.
Approximately 90% of bulging discs happen in the lower back, or lumbar area. The most common lumbar bulging disc is seen between vertebra L5 and S1 and lumbar vertebra L4 and L5, causing pain in the S1 spinal nerve or L5 nerve respectively.
Washington Wizards Emeka Okafor has been diagnosed with a herniated disk in his neck. Although no timetable has been set for his return to basketball, it should be expected that he will miss time. Read more at FanSided.