5 Irritating Signs That You May Have a Herniated Disc

Feb 05, 2024
5 Irritating Signs That You May Have a Herniated Disc
When is back pain a simple strain, and when is it the sign of something more complicated — such as a herniated disc? The following five signs give you a clue that you have herniated a disc and should get your back checked out.

Back pain is incredibly common, but only about 5-20 cases out of every 1,000 are due to a herniated disc. A herniated disc involves the rupture or protrusion of the gel-like center of a spinal disc. These discs serve as cushions between the vertebrae, or spinal bones. 

When the outer layer of the disc weakens or tears, the inner material oozes out and irritates nearby nerves. The irritated nerves can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the location and severity of the disc herniation

The Alabama Neurological Surgery & Spine team offers evaluation of your back pain and can help treat a herniated disc. Here are five signs they look for during your exam.

1. Back pain that radiates

A common sign of a herniated disc is pain that radiates from the affected area. When a herniation occurs and the inner gel-like substance presses on nearby nerves, pain tends to travel down the nerve pathway. 

Often the pain radiates into your buttocks, legs, and even your feet. If you're experiencing persistent, shooting back pain that seems to follow a specific path, it's important to connect with one of our neurology and spine specialists.

2. Numbness and tingling

Herniated discs can also lead to numbness and tingling in surrounding areas. The pressure on nerves can disrupt normal sensory signals, causing sensations of numbness, tingling, or even weakness. 

If you notice that certain parts of your body feel "asleep" or you're experiencing a pins-and-needles sensation, seek a professional evaluation to determine if a herniated disc is the underlying cause.

3. Muscle weakness

A herniated disc can affect the function of the muscles connected to the affected nerves. This can result in muscle weakness in specific areas, making simple tasks like lifting or even walking more challenging.

If you've noticed a decline in muscle strength, especially in conjunction with other symptoms, reach out to our office. We can schedule a neurological exam to find the root cause.

4. Pain aggravated by certain movements

If you have a herniated disc, you may find that certain movements make your pain worse. Bending forward, sitting for prolonged periods, or lifting heavy objects may intensify discomfort. 

Tell us about any specific activities that trigger or worsen your pain because it can help us determine if you might have a disc herniation and can guide our treatment approach.

5. Bowel or bladder dysfunction

Beyond common irritating symptoms, a herniated disc can put pressure on the nerves responsible for bowel and bladder control in severe cases. If you're experiencing difficulty controlling your bowels or bladder along with back pain and other symptoms, it's a significant indication that you need prompt medical attention. 

If you’re experiencing any of these signs of a herniated disc, you risk prolonging your discomfort and potentially worsening symptoms. Reach out to Alabama Neurological Surgery & Spine in Birmingham for accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment options.  

Call today or use our online request tool to book an appointment. We can help you get the care you need to experience relief from pain, improved function, and an enhanced quality of life.