About four in five American adults suffer back pain in their lifetimes. Among the most common causes of back pain is a herniated disc.
Spinal discs cushion the bones of your vertebrae, but a herniated disc can develop when a disc’s outer layer weakens or tears. The inner gel-like substance leaks out, putting pressure on the nerves in your spinal column.
Herniated discs are painful, and an accurate diagnosis and treatment are essential to help you start feeling better. Our team at Manhattan Orthopedics specializes in herniated disc care, and in this blog, we’re exploring five of the most common signs that could mean you have a herniated disc.
1. Persistent back pain
The most obvious sign of a herniated disc is back pain. The pain may be in your lower back and radiate to your buttocks, thighs, or calves. Typically, the pain is persistent, and it may intensify when you sit, stand, or engage in physical activities.
2. Numbness or tingling sensations
Sometimes, a herniated disc compresses nearby nerves and causes numbness or tingling sensations. You may experience these sensations in your legs, feet, or buttocks, depending on which nerves are impacted. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may worsen with movement or specific positions.
3. Muscle weakness
Another sign of a herniated disc is muscle weakness. Nerve compression can interrupt normal muscle functioning, leading to weakness in one side of your body or difficulty in performing certain movements. For instance, you may struggle to lift heavy objects, have trouble walking, or experience a lack of coordination.
4. Radiating pain
Radiculopathy is radiating pain that can happen when a herniated disc presses on spinal nerves. The pain can travel from your back down one leg and be accompanied by muscle weakness, numbness, or tingling sensations. Many people describe this nerve pain as sharp, shooting, or burning.
5. Worsening symptoms with movement
The symptoms of a herniated disc often get worse with activity. Certain movements, like bending, twisting, or lifting heavy objects, can exacerbate your symptoms. In severe cases, coughing or sneezing can also put increased pressure on your spine and make pain flare.
Your herniated disc treatment options
If you have persistent back pain, it’s important to get a professional diagnosis. Our orthopedic team specializes in evaluating herniated discs and developing personalized treatment plans to help you start feeling better.
We typically start by recommending nonsurgical options, like:
- Physical therapy
- Pain medication
- Epidural steroid injections
- Nerve block injections
These treatments aim to alleviate pressure on your spinal nerves, reduce pain, and improve your mobility. In more severe cases, we may recommend minimally invasive surgery to remove the herniated portion of your spinal disc.
Do you think you might have a herniated disc? Schedule a consultation with our team at Manhattan Orthopedics to get the care you need. Call our offices in Astoria, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, New York, or request an appointment online now.