Learn about the symptoms of a slipped disc

A slipped disc is a common nonmedical term often used for conditions like a herniated disc or a bulging disc. These spinal conditions can arise as part of the natural aging process or related to traumatic injury. A spinal disc is made up of a gel-like nucleus and a fibrous outer wall. Over the years, the nucleus can lose water content and the wall can become brittle. If the outer wall extends beyond its normal boundary, the condition is considered a bulging disc. If nucleus material leaks through a tear in the outer wall, the condition is considered a herniated disc.

Whether you have been diagnosed with a disc condition or are researching conditions to determine the source of your neck or back pain, learning more about the specific symptoms associated with these conditions can be beneficial as you seek lasting relief.

Specific symptoms caused by a slipped disc

In many cases a slipped disc does not cause symptoms. Issues will usually develop if displaced disc material puts pressure on a spinal nerve. Although a slipped disc can occur at any level of the spine, it is most common in the flexible areas of the cervical (upper) and lumbar (lower) spinal regions. Nerve compression in the cervical spine can produce symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the:

  • Clavicle
  • Top of the shoulder
  • Lateral portion of the arm from the shoulder to the hand
  • Thumb or index finger
  • Inside of the hand

Nerve compression in the lower back can produce:

  • Muscle weakness in the legs
  • Reduced function in the knee
  • Tingling or numbness in the knee and shin
  • Shooting or stabbing pain in the thigh, down the lower leg, and into the feet

Slipped disc treatment

These symptoms often respond well to pain medication, exercise, stretching or other conservative treatment. Speak to your doctor about developing a personalized treatment plan. If chronic pain persists after attempting these methods for at least a few weeks or months, surgery may become an option.

Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery that can be the clinically appropriate first choice and offers many benefits compared to traditional open neck or back procedures. Our board-certified surgeons+ use muscle-sparing techniques that allow for an outpatient procedure and less risk of complications when compared to traditional open spine surgery.

Contact us to learn more and for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.