Signs and Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

Herniated discs can be caused from a variety of reasons including improperly lifting a heavy object, trauma to the spinal column, and degenerative processes. Although general back pain is caused by a wide variety of factors, spine surgeons note that when an individual is suffering from a herniated disc a few specific symptoms present themselves.


People who have a simple sprain or strain to the muscles of the back often feel less pain when they are bent over and increasing discomfort when they rise to an upright position. The pain that is experienced from a herniated disc is usually not relieved whether an individual is bending or standing straight.


Bulging and herniated discs that are pushed out of the natural line of the vertebral column often press against the surrounding spinal nerves. The result is often pain, numbness or tingling that is felt down the extremities and into the fingers or toes. If a bulging or herniated disc is suspected in the upper spinal column or in the neck, medical help should sought immediately.


Nerves that are compressed by herniated discs can also cause weakness in the extremities. An individual may notice that he or she is stumbling often or is unable to fully lift his or her foot off of the floor when ambulating.

Loss of Bladder Control

Severe cases of disc herniation can compress the nerves of the lower body enough to result in loss of bladder and bowel control. This type of nerve involvement requires immediate attention.

Medical Diagnosis

If a bulging or herniated disc is suspected, people should make an appointment to be evaluated by their family physician or orthopedic surgeon. A diagnosis can be confirmed via x-ray, MRI or CT imaging. Usually, the extent of the involvement can be visualized, and the practitioner can prescribe appropriate medications, treatments or physical therapy.

If non-surgical treatment options have been unsuccessful, other options like spinal decompression surgery may provide the greatest possibility for minimizing lasting effects of the herniated disk. To learn more about this type of surgery or to explore other treatment options, call (310) 828-7757 to speak with the professional and certified physicians at The Spine Institute Center of Spinal Restoration who can help you determine the best option for your individual needs.