The spine is made up of a series of bones called vertebra separated towards the front of the body by specialised joints called discs. Towards the back of the body, the vertebra are connected through facet joints. 

The spinal cord and cauda equina run through a heart shaped ring in the vertebra called the spinal canal and at each disc level, two nerves emerge from the spine (one on the right and one on the left) which proceed to provide the body with a particular function - normally movement or sensation. 

If there is a problem with a disc or facet joint, a nerve can be "trapped" and this can cause pain in the distribution of that nerve - typically down the arm or leg. The pain can be severe. There are several good treatments available. 

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