Symptoms of a
herniated disc vary greatly depending on the position
of the herniated disc and the size of the herniation.
herniated disc is:
Not pressing on a nerve, you may have an ache
in the low back or no symptoms at all.
Pressing on a nerve, you may
have pain, numbness, or weakness in the area of your body to which the nerve
With herniation in the lower (lumbar) back,
sciatica may develop.
Sciatica is pain that travels through the buttock and
down a leg to the ankle or foot because of pressure on the sciatic nerve. Low
back pain may accompany the leg pain.
With herniation in the upper
part of the lumbar spine, near the ends of the lowest ribs, you may have pain
in the front of the thigh.
With herniation in the neck (cervical spine), you may have pain or numbness in the shoulders, arms, or
Leg pain caused by a herniated
Usually occurs in only one leg.
start suddenly or gradually.
May be constant or may come and go
May get worse ("shooting pain") when sneezing,
coughing, or straining to pass stools.
May be aggravated by
sitting, prolonged standing, and bending or twisting movements.
be relieved by walking, lying down, and other positions that relax the spine
and decrease pressure on the damaged disc.
Nerve-related symptoms caused by a
herniated disc include:
Tingling ("pins-and-needles" sensation) or
numbness in one leg that can begin in the buttock or behind the knee and extend
to the thigh, ankle, or foot.
Weakness in both legs and the loss of bladder and/or bowel
control, which are symptoms of a specific and severe type of nerve root
cauda equina syndrome. This is a rare but serious
problem, and a person with these symptoms should see a doctor