Many names are assigned to a herniated disc, such as a bulging disc, ruptured disc, or a slipped disc. An even more common term is a pinched nerve.
The gel-like material within your spinal discs is the reason for much of your spine’s flexibility, but when these discs herniate, immense lower back pain may be the result. Used for more than just range of motion, these cushioned areas between your vertebrae assist with shock absorption and upper body stability.
When these discs herniate—or leak the internal material —pain may ensue in other areas of the body as the friction irritates closely located nerves. Lower back pain caused by a herniated disc often spreads to the legs as the sciatic nerve runs down your entire leg.
Why does disc herniation happen?
Often, disc herniation begins without a cause. Though, at times, the damage may occur when you have lifted a heavy item improperly or used a sharp turning motion. To prevent injury, it is recommended to lift with your knees and keep your back straight. Turn slowly to reduce the likelihood you will hurt your back.
When does disc herniation occur?
While herniated discs can happen at any age, they are more prevalent from 35 to 50.
There are several symptoms of a herniated disc. We have gathered six, so you can determine if you may be suffering from a herniated disc.
1. Leg pain
The leg pain associated with a herniated disc is often worse than the back pain. Herniated discs inflame or place pressure on nearby nerves. When dealing with a lumbar herniated disc, this fact may lead to sciatica, which can cause immense pain in the legs as the sciatic nerve is easily affected. Herniated disc exercises can help to alleviate some of this pain.
2. Nerve pain
With herniated disc pain, there is more than just a dull or throbbing pain. Once the discs rupture, the pressure it places on surrounding areas, especially the large sciatic nerve in your legs, is described as radiating, electric, searing, and piercing. This reality can significantly reduce mobility and overall well-being.
3. Pain felt in various locations
Herniation of the discs can occur in variable places and to different degrees, so pain may occur in the buttocks, thigh, lower back, foot, calf, and toes. For most people, this pain is felt only on one side of the body.
4. Neurological difficulties
Due to the pressure on the nerve, numbness, tingling, and weakness may happen in the leg and foot. For some people, these sensations also travel to the toes. These symptoms can be very concerning and severely reduce the ability to move.
5. Lower back pain
Surprisingly, lower back pain is not always a symptom of a herniated disc, but when it is present, it may come with stiffness. If lower back muscle spasms occur, resting for a day or two may relieve some of the pain.
6. Foot drop
A separate neurological condition that may occur because of a herniated disc is called foot drop. This condition makes it difficult to raise the foot while walking or while standing on the ball of your foot. As your feet set the tone for your overall health, this condition can cause significant disruption to daily activities.
The pain associated with a herniated disc is highly individual. For some, there is a little discomfort, and the symptoms do not last long. For others, the ache is excruciating and may become debilitating.
Herniated disc treatment is enhanced by the services of trained and certified chiropractors. These professionals can assist and speed up your recovery. Lower back pain does not have to be a constant in your life.
Let Drs. Adam and Amanda Apfelblat help bring you better health and a better way of life through chiropractic wellness care by calling and making an appointment today.