10/22/2012 06:25 pm ET

Melissa Rycroft Herniated Disk: 'Dancing With The Stars' Contestant's Condition, Explained

Melissa Rycroft, a participant on ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" and a previous winner on "The Bachelor," was injured during a dance rehearsal with a herniated disk and has been sent to the hospital, according to news reports.

People magazine reported that Rycroft was rehearsing a dance move with her partner, Tony Dovolani, where he had to pull her between his legs and then pop back up. But when she came back up, she immediately grasped at her neck and yelled out in pain. [To see video footage, click over to People's report.]

A herniated disk is a condition where one of the rubbery disks that cushions the vertebrae bones that make up the spine moves out of its place, or ruptures, according to the National Institutes of Health. This causes intense back and/or neck pain, as well as a numbing or tingling sensation, and even muscle spasms.

While herniated disks are often caused by the aging, wear-and-tear process of disk degeneration, they can also be caused by falls or from using your back instead of leg muscles to pick up something heavy, the Mayo Clinic reported.

Most people can recover from a herniated disk in a couple months as long as they follow a treatment protocol, most often including pain-relieving medications and exercise in physical therapy. However, surgery is sometimes needed if other treatments don't work, or if symptoms become worse, making it impossible to do basic activities, according to the Mayo Clinic.



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