Herniated disc pain

Herniated disc pain may be experienced throughout the body, not just in the upper or lower back. Depending on the location, symptoms can range from local pain to severe, burning pain that travels to the legs or arms, interfering with basic movement and motor skills. For some people, herniated discs cause no symptoms at all and go undiagnosed for years. When painful symptoms occur, though, it can put your entire life on hold — family, work or even just your favorite hobby is affected.

Herniated disc causes

The discs in the spine act to cushion the vertebrae; this allows for normal movement, flexibility and support. Years of wear and tear can cause these discs to weaken, making it easier for them to become displaced or even tear. A herniated disc is when pressure causes a rupture in the outer shell of a disc, pushing disc material out into the spinal column. If any part of the disc pinches a spinal nerve, it can produce symptoms along the length of the nerve. This could mean the upper or lower body depending on the location of the disc. Local pain is usually experienced from irritation of the nerves on the surface of the disc itself.

Symptoms and treatment

The most common symptoms of herniated disc pain include numbness and tingling in the extremities and muscle weakness. For example, a lumbar herniated disc (lower back) often causes sciatica. This is the set of symptoms that occur when the sciatic nerve is pinched by a condition like a herniated disc and may include sharp pain or a pins-and–needles sensation in the hips, legs and feet. A herniated disc in the neck may be the cause of a burning sensation in the arms or soreness in the shoulders.

Once diagnosed, the first step in treating your pain will be for you and your doctor to create a plan of conservative, nonsurgical herniated disc treatments. If weeks or months of these methods have not brought you acceptable relief and spine surgery is being recommended, contact Laser Spine Institute.

As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute offers shorter recovery times§ and lower risks than traditional open back surgery. We can even treat advanced disc deterioration with our minimally invasive stabilization procedures. Our Care Team can help you get your life back from herniated disc pain, starting with a review of your MRI or CT scan.

Browse Related Resources