Herniated disc symptoms — overview and treatment

There are many symptoms caused by a herniated disc, which occur when nucleus material from a spinal disc is pushed through a tear in its outer layer. In addition to local pain and irritation of the disc, extruded material can also put pressure on surrounding nerves, causing symptoms that travel into the extremities.

These herniated disc symptoms can be very disruptive to an active lifestyle, making it difficult to do everything from preparing a meal to working in the yard. However, if a herniated disc affects you, it’s best to remain positive because there are effective treatments that can help you get back to the quality of life you deserve.

Herniated disc symptoms vary by location

The lumbar (lower) region of the spine is an extremely common area for herniated disc symptoms to develop. The lumbar region of the spine is both highly flexible and responsible for supporting weight of the upper body, putting it under significant stress on a daily basis. This combination of mobility and weight burden, along with a natural loss of elasticity due to aging, makes discs vulnerable to rupture.

Perhaps the most widely recognized set of symptoms of a herniated disc in the lumbar spine is known as sciatica. Sciatica develops as a result of the compression of the sciatic nerve, which extends from the lower back into the buttocks, legs and feet. When this nerve is constricted, it can result in the following symptoms:

  • Lower back pain
  • Shooting pain in the hips, buttocks and legs
  • Cramping and weakness in the legs
  • Tingling and numbness in the feet

Another typical area for herniated disc symptoms to develop is in the cervical (upper) spine, since it is also highly flexible and must support the head. While localized neck pain is frequently associated with a herniated cervical disc, it can also cause nerve compression and radiating symptoms.

Some examples of herniated disc symptoms in the cervical spine include:

  • Shoulder weakness
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingertips
  • Shooting pains throughout the arm
  • Diminished reflexes in the elbow
  • Headaches

Treatment for a herniated disc

In many cases, a series of doctor-recommended conservative techniques can offer lasting relief from herniated disc symptoms. However, if your pain persists throughout several weeks or months and you have exhausted nonsurgical options, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our dedicated team of Spine Care Consultants can help you learn about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery, including our lower risk of complication and shorter recovery time.^

We are happy to offer a no-cost MRI review* to help you find out if you are a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.

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