The symptoms of a herniated disc tend to vary depending on the site of the injury. Generally, one might have one or several radicular symptoms such as pain, pins and needles sensation, weakness, numbness or an electrical shock feeling radiating down the arm or leg.
The radicular symptoms down the arm or leg occurs since the spinal nerve roots branches off into the nerves that travel all over the body. Every nerve root is designated to a particular region where it sends nerves.
Oftentimes, a herniated disc might trigger pain, numbness or disturbance in the bladder or bowel or causes the legs to weaken progressively. This is called as cauda equine syndrome and considered as a medical emergency. Once these symptoms manifest, a doctor should be consulted or bring the individual to the nearest healthcare facility.
Symptoms of a herniated disc based on the spinal region affected
Aside from the radicular symptoms common to all regions of the spine, every area usually has its own distinct symptoms that you should be familiar with.
The individual is likely to experience shoulder and neck pain. The pain that radiates down the arm might be similar to a heart attack or relatively similar. There might also be dizziness, headache or visual disturbances.
Once the spinal cord is involved which is uncommon, the radicular symptoms might spread out more.
If the lower back is involved, the individual might also experience back pain and/or pain in the buttocks, sacroiliac area or the back thigh. The back pain from a lumbar herniated disc might worsen while sitting and improves while standing or lying down. This will likely worsen if the individual exerts particularly when twisting or bending. Remember that the discomfort will worsen while sneezing, coughing or straining.
Middle or upper back
If the herniated disc is positioned in the middle or upper back, pain will manifest in that area or in the low back, abdominal region or the leg. Once the spinal cord is involved, there is also a twitching sensation or spasticity in the muscles that surround the mid-section and the back.