The most common place for a person to experience a herniated disc is in the lower part of their back. This area is referred to as the lumbar spine. Of course, herniated discs do not only take place in the lower back. They can also happen in the thoracic spine, which is the middle of your spine, or the cervical spine, which is your neck. The symptoms that you will experience from a herniated disc will vary depending on its location. Following are some of the most common symptoms that you will experience with a disc herniation.
One of the first indications of a herniated disc is pain. If the disc herniation takes place in the lower back, the pain will be felt in the buttocks, calves or thighs. Depending on its extent, you may feel pain that travels all the way into your foot, especially toward your big toe.
A disc herniation can produce a radiating pain that travels down the pathway of the nerve that is being compressed by the disc. If you have a herniated disc in your neck, you’re going to have some intense pain in your shoulder that will travel down your arm. You will notice jolts of pain when you cough or sneeze. Pain will increase or decrease based on the position of your spine.
Since most herniated discs put pressure on a nerve, there is often a sensation of tingling or numbness that accompanies the herniation. For example, when a person herniates a disc in their lower back, they might feel a numb sensation in their big toe. If they herniate a disc in their neck, they might feel that same sensation in the arms or hands.
Many people with a disc herniation experience muscle weakness and, in some cases, muscle atrophy. This is because the muscles that are controlled by the nerves that are affected by the herniated disc do not have the same strength that they did prior to the injury. When a person herniates a disc in the lower back, the muscle weakness may result in a change in the way that they walk. They may be left with a dead foot or an inability to lift and move their foot as freely as they could before. This may cause them to stumble and fall. Individuals who herniate a disc in their neck may experience weakness in their wrists or hands. This may make it harder for them to lift things or hold on to items.
Not all herniated discs cause symptoms. People will often go to the doctor for a checkup and will be completely surprised to learn that they have a herniated disc. Seeking medical attention is key to recovering from this condition. If you have or believe you may have a herniated disc, the professionals at Innovative Spine can provide you with an appropriate treatment plan developed specially for your needs. Contact our office in San Antonio today to schedule a consultation.