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What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

One of the symptoms of a slipped or herniated disk is sudden back pain. This animation tells you more about herniated disks.

Localized pain in the lower back, radiating pain and numbness are all symptoms associated with a herniated disc.

Dr. Stephen Q. Parker, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist

Basically, there are quite a few people who have herniated disk who do not know it, because research has shown that there are a fair number of people who have herniated disks that do not have symptoms. Those who do may have a variety of types of symptoms. Sciatica is one such symptom that a patient can complain of which basically consists of a radiating, aching, throbbing pain usually down the back of the leg, sometimes there can be numbness. It tends to extend from the buttocks to the knee or the side of one leg. You can have pain, numbness or paresthesias along with this and a lot of times it can be relieved by positioning the leg and/or back in a certain position. You can certainly have low back pain and low back pain can be affiliated and certainly seen quite frequently with people who suffer from herniated disk disease, coughing, producing of Valsalva activity which is usually brought on by increasing intraabdominal pressure with a bowel movement, coughing, sneezing can certainly cause a patient who is suffering from a herniated disk to experience increased discomfort. Again, the herniated disk as well as spinal stenosis should be addressed with haste if a patient loses control of his or her bowel and bladder, the pain increases over time and there is an increase in numbness and weakness, you can develop foot drop or lower extremity weakness to the point where walking becomes very, very difficult, and certainly making it dangerous to try to do so. In those cases, we suggest that you seek out your doctor as soon as possible for if those symptoms should develop.

Symptoms of a herniated disc include pain shooting in the arm or leg, as well as neck or back pain.

Often, a herniated disc causes no symptoms. However, a herniated disc can be quite painful in terms of back pain or leg pain. If a herniated disc displaces, stretches or compresses a nerve root, this will often result in severe numbness, tingling, pain or weakness in the legs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.