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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

Back Pain: Finding the Right Doctor

Start with your primary-care physician; back pain is so common that most family docs have seen lots of it. Your PCP is also a good person to return to if, later, you get conflicting treatment advice from specialists. He or she can help you evaluate what would be your best next step.  

Read the Back Pain: Finding the Right Doctor 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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