What are the symptoms of a torn disc?

You may wonder if your chronic neck or back pain is due to a serious spinal condition, like a torn disc. If you suspect this to be the case it can be beneficial to read the following article to learn about the symptoms of a torn disc (also called a ruptured, herniated or slipped disc) so that you can be as informed as possible before going to the doctor for an official diagnosis. This knowledge may help you and your doctor develop a treatment plan with the best chance of helping you return to your normal activities.

Torn disc symptoms

The symptoms of a torn disc can vary from patient to patient. In fact, many cases can remain asymptomatic for a long time. However, the following symptoms are most commonly associated with this spinal condition:

  • Dull, sharp, burning or shooting pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle spasms

The location of these symptoms may also vary depending on the site of the affected disc. A torn disc in the cervical (upper) spine may cause discomfort in the neck, shoulders or arms. A disc tear in the thoracic (middle) spine may cause symptoms in the ribs, torso, mid back or inner arms. Patients with a torn disc in the lumbar region (lower back), which is the most common location for this condition, may experience discomfort in the lower back, hips, buttocks, legs or feet. If these symptoms sound familiar, speak to a doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis.

How to relieve torn disc symptoms

Most doctors will begin treatment for a torn disc with conservative therapies. This treatment plan may include over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, physical therapy steroidal injections, hot and cold therapy or intermittent periods of rest. Some patients also find relief from alternative treatments, such as yoga, Pilates and acupuncture. You should always discuss treatment options with your doctor, especially when medications or exercise programs are involved.

If several weeks or months of conservative treatment are providing little to no relief, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our outpatient procedures and how we can potentially treat your torn disc. We offer a range of minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgeries that are safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery, without the highly invasive nature and lengthy recoveries.^

As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. Our highly skilled surgeons are able to relieve pressure on the spine by removing either part or the entire damaged disc depending on the severity of your condition. To find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.*