One of the most common causes of back pain is a herniated disc. A herniated disc happens when all or portion of the disc in the spine is forced through a weakened portion of the disc. This can cause pressure on nearby nerves. Most people think that this process can only result from an injury, or other trauma to the back, such as heavy lifting, or a fall but it is mostly a result of the aging process.
The symptoms of a herniated disc can vary greatly depending on the location, position and size of the herniated disc.
- If the disc is NOT pressing on a nerve you may feel aching in the lower back or no symptoms at all.
- If the disc is pressing on a nerve you may have pain, weakness, and or numbness in the area of you body where the nerve travels.
The most common signs and symptoms of a herniated disc are:
- Tingling or numbness in the body part where the affected nerves are located.
- Leg or arm pain.
- Herniated Disc in the lower back – You typically will feel the most extreme pain in your buttocks, thigh and leg below your knee. Possibly even in your foot.
- Herniated Disc in the neck – You typically will feel the most extreme pain in the shoulder and arm.
- This pain may shoot down the leg or arm when you move your spine into certain positions. Even little moves like sneezing can cause the pain.
- Weakness in the muscles in the area that is affected which may cause you to not be able to do certain things like lift or hold items.
- Severe deep muscle pain and muscle spasms.
Herniated discs in the lower back may lead to sciatica. When the sciatic nerve is pinched you have sciatica. The sciatic nerve is the nerve that supplies the lower extremities (legs). It is the largest nerve in the body; it’s about the thickness of your thumb. Because of its size when it’s pinched it can cause severe pain!
The pain often starts off slow but can get worse over time if not correctly treated. Everyday activities like standing, sitting, laughing, coughing, bending backwards or even walking can make the pain more intense.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms sign up for a FREE Consultation at the Illinois Back Institute.