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Understanding Spinal Disk Problems -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Disk Problems?

The symptoms of a spinal disk problem depend on the location of the problem in the spine. Typically, the disks of the neck (cervical) or lower back (lumbar) are the most commonly affected. When the disk puts pressure on the spinal nerves, you may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Sharp pain in the back, sometimes going down the back of one or both legs (commonly known as sciatica); the pain can start immediately during exertion or injury, or shortly afterward.
  • Inability to bend or straighten your back, accompanied by severe pain
  • Gradual development of neck or lower back pain, possibly intense upon arising or when sneezing or coughing
  • Numbness or tingling in your arm or leg
  • Progressive loss of strength in one or both arms and legs

 

Recommended Related to Back Pain

What's Making Your Back Hurt?

When you've got back pain, one of the best questions you can ask is, "Why is it happening?" That can be the first step to helping the problem. Common causes for back pain include: Muscle and ligament injuries. These are the most common causes of back pain. Shoveling snow or helping a friend move her couch can sometimes overstretch the muscles or ligaments. You can wind up with strains or sprains. Most of these injuries heal in a few days to weeks. Disc injuries...

Read the What's Making Your Back Hurt? article > >

 

Call Your Doctor About Back Pain If:

  • You experience pain in the neck, upper or lower back
  • Back pain is accompanied by fever; you may have a viral or bacterial infection.
  • You have a sudden loss of feeling or weakness in your extremities or loss of bowel or bladder control; you may have an injury to your spinal cord, which may indicate an urgent need for surgery. 

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on March 08, 2014

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