A disc in your body is the cushioning pads that are between the bones that make up your spinal cord. The purpose of these discs is to support the movement in the spinal column and to support the impact your body experiences. The discs are constructed in a way that they resemble a jelly donut because they are soft in the middle and tougher on the outsides. When the middle portion of the disc ruptures it is called herniation.
The symptoms of a herniated disc can vary depending on where the disc is and how big it is. If you are lucky, and the herniated disc is not pressed up against a nerve, you may not have any symptoms whatsoever. However, it if it pressing up against a nerve, you will experience pain, numbness, or weakness in the part of the body that the nerve is connected to. Here are different symptoms that may be signs that you have a herniated disc.
A herniated disc in the lower part of the back can cause something called sciatica. It is a pain that goes from the butt and down one of your legs to the ankle and foot because of pressure that has built up on the sciatic nerve. This is the most common type of herniated disc. The pain that is experienced with a herniated disc in your lower back is typically in your thigh, buttocks, below your knee and even possibly in your foot.
A herniated disc on the upper part of the spine, pain or numbness can be present in the chest, shoulders, and arms. The part above the lumbar spine presents with pain around the front of the thigh area. If the herniated disc is in your neck, the pain will be centralized within your arm and shoulder.
Symptoms that appear in the leg that can point to a herniated disc often occur in one of the legs, not both. It can suddenly start or gradually begin to be noticed. It may come and go or be a constant pain. When it gets worse it offers a shooting pain, especially when coughing, sneezing, or trying to drop a deuce. These pains will become aggravated by prolonged sitting or standing. Bending and twisting movements are especially hard on herniated discs.
There are also symptoms that are nerve related that stem from the pressure being built up on your nerve. Tingling and numbness in a single leg that often begins in the butt or from behind the knee. It then extends down to the thigh, ankle, and foot. Muscle weakness in one or both legs can often be a nerve-related symptom. A pain in the front of your thigh should also be watched out for. Something to watch out for is the loss of bowel control and bladder control. This is a specific symptom that points to cauda equina syndrome, a type of nerve root compression. It is rare, but a very serious problem. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The last symptom of a herniated disc includes a very deep and severe muscle pain as well as muscle spasms. Both of these symptoms can be confused with other medical issues, so when you are going to the doctor, be sure to explain your symptoms completely. The muscle spasms and deep muscle pain can be caused by nerves that are not functioning properly and causing you to feel great amounts of pain.
No matter where the herniated disc is located, it can be very painful and seem unexplained. The different discs create different symptoms throughout your body so pinpointing the source of the problem can be somewhat tricky. Be sure to share with your doctor the exact symptoms and feelings so aid them in figuring out what the problem may be.