The most common signs and symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Arm or leg pain. With a herniated disc in the lower back, a patient will feel intense pain in the buttocks, thigh and calves, and even part of the foot. With a herniated disc in the neck, the pain will be the most intense in the arm and shoulder. The pain may shoot into the arm or leg when coughing, sneezing or moving in certain positions.
- Some patients also experience numbness or tingling. People with a herniated disk will often feel numbness or tingling in the body part served the the affected nerves.
- Many patients with a herniated disc will also experience weakness. Muscles served by the affected nerves tend to weaken, which can lead to stumbling, or impair the patient's ability to lift or hold items.
What is a Herniated Disc?
The spine is comprised of rubbery cushions, or discs, between the individual bones, or vertebrae. When one of those rubbery cushions has a problem, it is referred to as a herniated disc.
To understand the spinal cushion, think of a jelly donut. There is a tougher exterior casing filled with a softer jelly-like substance. A herniated disc, also called a slip disc or ruptured disc, happens when some of the jelly gets pushed through the outer tougher exterior of the disc.
A herniated disc can be very bothersome for patients and can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. However, a herniated disc can also result in no pain or significant symptoms. Treatments include medication, physical therapy, or surgery. Thankfully, most people who have a herniated disc, don’t need surgery to correct the issue.
Most herniated discs occur in the lower back or lumbar spine. However, herniated discs can also occur in the neck, or cervical spine. Disc herniation is typically due to gradual aging wear and tear called disc degeneration. With age, discs lose some of their water content, which makes them prone to tearing or rupturing.
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Contact Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Flower Mound, TX today to learn more about our back and neck program. We’ll schedule an appointment for you to meet with one of our licensed professionals at our center.