Herniated Disc Symptoms

Herniated Disc Symptoms – Introduction

Herniated disc symptoms can be found anywhere along the spine from the top vertebrae to the very last vertebrae. The pain can range from hardly noticeable to disabling pain depending on where the herniation occurred. Sometimes pain can radiate into other areas and this is not uncommon with disc injuries because of the spinal cord being pressed upon and the occurrence of other pinched nerves. For example, lumbar disc herniations can cause pain in the buttocks and legs and cervical disc herniations can cause pain in the shoulders even though the injury originates in the neck. Sufferers may also experience tingling, muscle weakness, numbness, slower reflexes, paralysis, and paresthesia. Pain is usually continuous and sometimes muscle spasms will occur.

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Lumbar Herniated Disc Symptoms

Herniated Disc Symptoms – Mistaken as lower back sprain?

Unfortunately, herniated disc symptoms are not diagnosed immediately because many times the injury can be mistaken for  a sprain and medical attention is not sought quickly by the individual. This will normally hamper herniated disc recovery.

Herniated Disc Symptoms – Common Characteristics

Many people can have a herniated disc and not experience any noticeable herniated disc symptoms or pain. This mainly depends on the location and if the disc material, the nucleus pulposus, is pressing against any nerves or soft tissues. Herniated Disc Symptoms may not even show radicular pain depending upon the location and size.

Another point worth noting is that most herniated disc symptoms are only experienced on one side of the body. Such as the right buttock, right lower back, right hamstring etc and vice versa. However, pain on both sides of the body can signal a more severe injury.

A dysfunction in bladder control may be a symptom of Cauda equina syndrome which can cause severe nerve damage and/or paralysis. This is a medical emergency and medical attention should be sought immediately.

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Herniated Disc pinching nerve

In any case, herniated disc symptoms will vary greatly depending upon size the the herniated disc and location of the herniated disc.

If a herniated disc is…

  • Not pinching a nerve- small ache in lower back or no noticeable pain at all
  • Pinching a nerve- Numbness, tingling, pain, and possibly a burning sensation in the area where the nerve occurs.

The location of a herniated disc matters a lot. And different disc herniation’s will cause different herniated disc symptoms

  • Lumbar disc herniation’s are known for causing sciatica because the sciatic nerve is pinched. The sciatic nerve runs from your lower back, into the buttocks, and down the legs into the toes. So pain in these areas along with the lower back may occur.
  • Cervical disc herniation’s are known for causing pain in the arms, shoulders, and chest because of  a pinched nerve or nerves that run into this area of the body.
  • With herniated discs in the upper lumbar spine thigh pain may occur.
  • Thoracic Disc Herniation’s may cause pain in the chest and abdomen.

There are some common traits among most herniated disc pain. For example leg pain…

  • Most of the time only occurs in one side of the body. Someone with a lumbar herniated disc will often see symptoms of sciatica in either the left or right leg and not both.
  • Leg pain is normally a gradually occurringsymptom and not something that happens suddenly. In my own personal experience I didn’t notice symptoms of sciatic leg pain until after two weeks.
  • Leg pain will either be something that is a constant pain or something that is on and off. Some days are simply better then others.
  • Prolonged Sitting, bending, twisting, moving, sneezing, coughing, or straining will all make a dull achy pain turn into a shooting pain that often feels like a burning muscle spasm.
  • Rest, walking, and laying down will help relieve symptoms because pressure is not on the spine and the damaged disc is not pushing as hard on the nerves.

You know you have nerve-related herniated disc symptoms when…

  • Pain occurs in the front of the thigh.
  • Weakening muscles
  • Numbness and tingling in the buttocks, behind the knees, the shin, and even the ankle and sole of the foot.
  • Loss of bladder control called Cauda Equina syndrome. This is a medical emergency and a medical professional needs to be seen immediately.

Lastly, herniated discs usually have a dull, achy, and constant pain. Muscle pain and sometimes even muscle spasms can occur. The above shows you how location and size of a herniated disc will drastically alter herniated disc symptoms.

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