How Do I Know If I Have a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc is often referred to as “slipping a disc.” Many of us have had friends or family members slip a disc and understand that the condition is painful. Do you suspect that you may have slipped a disc?

Symptoms vary greatly depending on the position of the herniated disc and the size of the herniation. Dr. Allen Deutsch and our caring team here in Bellaire, Texas, are here to help you understand the signs and symptoms of a herniated disc.

What is a herniated disc?

Small discs cushion vertebral bones that form the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral spine. These discs are round and flat, with a sturdy, outer layer that surrounds a jellylike material called the nucleus. The function of the disc is to act as shock absorbers for the spinal bones.

A herniated disc is a health issue associated with the discs in your spine. A herniated disc (also known as bulged, slipped or ruptured) disc is when a piece of the disc center is pushed out of the disc region, into the spinal canal through a tear or rupture in the structure. The spinal canal has limited space, which in turn can not accommodate the spinal nerve and the displaced herniated disc fragment. Due to this displacement, the disc presses on spinal nerves, often producing pain, which may be severe.

Telltale signs of a herniated disc

If you’re not sure whether you have a herniated disc, look for the following telltale signs. If any of these apply to you, call and make an appointment with Dr. Allen Deutsch in his Bellaire clinic today.

Pain

Pain is a prominent sign of a herniated disc. The location of the pain or "shooting pain" depends on the site of the herniated disc, and it could be either higher or lower on your spine.

If the problematic disc is in your upper back, then the pain is usually concentrated in your shoulders or arms. If the disc is located in your lower back, you could have pain in your buttocks, thighs, or calves. You may notice that certain areas have throbbing pain and that this pain intensifies when you cough, sudden movements or twist your spine into certain positions.

Numbness

Not only could you have pain, but you may also feel numbness and or tingling in the affected body part served by the affected nerves. It may feel like your muscles are always “falling asleep,” even when you haven’t been sitting in the same position for long periods.

You may also notice that this feeling of numbness and tingling is always present in the same parts of your body or the same muscles. These symptoms are also signs of a herniated disc.

Weakness

Over time, you may experience muscle weakening. The weakness is caused by prolonged nerve irritation originating from the area of the herniated disc. The sensation of pain and numbness may lead to a weakening in the specific muscles. When the targeted muscles weaken, you may notice it in your daily activities or your exercise routine. It may cause you to stumble or impair your ability to lift or hold items.

You may notice that you can’t form the same yoga poses you usually can do, or that you can no longer lift the same weight as you used to, without significant changes to your diet or lifestyle. The weakening of your muscles could be an indication of a herniated disc.

Surprisingly, some people have no symptoms of a disc problem.  These scenarios arise from having a physical examination and or advanced imaging by a physician in which they diagnosis your condition.

If you suspect that you may have a herniated disc, or you would like to find out more about the condition, call Dr. Allen Deutsch’s office today to schedule an evaluation.

You Might Also Enjoy...

When Does A Rotator Cuff Injury Require Surgery?

If you’re a side sleeper waking up at night with shoulder pain, you may have a rotator cuff injury. You don’t want to ignore the pain or wait for it to heal because this type of injury worsens if left untreated.