The spine consists of bones (the vertebra) separated by gelatinous cushions (the discs). The discs are held in place with ligaments. When these ligaments tear, the discs may protrude between the vertebra. These protruded discs can push on spinal nerves, causing severe pain in the back, arm or leg served by these nerves. At times the protrusion can cause permanent damage to the nerves and requires emergent surgical repair.