What are the Symptoms and Causes of a Herniated Disc?
Common symptoms of a herniated disc include pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness in the extremities. There may also be some local pain where the disc herniated if the discs nerves become irritated. Symptoms will vary in strength depending on where the disc has herniated and how advanced the herniation is, being anywhere from mild to severe in nature.
It is essential to be diagnosed early to stop the progression of your herniated disc. An accurate diagnosis is also key to successful herniated disc treatment.
Cervical Herniated Disc Symptoms
- Pain in the neck and shoulders.
- Waves of pain that start in the neck and radiate through the shoulder and into the arm.
- Tingling and numbness in the arm, hand, and/or fingers.
- Progressive muscular weakness and a loss of coordination in the arm and hand if left untreated and allowed to progress.
Lumbar Herniated Disc Symptoms
- Pain in the lower back.
- Waves of pain that start in the lower back and run down the leg.
- Tingling and numbness in the leg, foot, and/or toes.
- Progressive muscular weakness and a loss of coordination in the leg and foot if left untreated and allowed to progress.
You can suffer from this condition without showing any signs of a herniated disc. Symptoms generally do not occur unless the herniation puts pressure on a nearby nerve or the spinal cord itself.
A herniated disc that causes radicular pain should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. The longer a nerve is compressed and starved of nutrients, the greater the possibility of permanent damage.
What are the Causes of a Herniated Disc?
There are two main causes of a herniated disc, age and injury. As we age our discs weaken from the everyday stresses put on the spine, as the discs continue to break down they lose water content and flexibility. As the degeneration of our spinal discs continue to worsen, the simplest of activities such as bending and twisting can cause a disc to become herniated.
Traumatic injuries such as a sudden jarring motion or an impact to the spine are the next most common herniated disc causes, although it is much rarer that an age related disc herniation.