The spinal discs provide cushion between the vertebrae, protecting the bone and nerves in the spine. When a disc is damaged, it can move or change shape, pressing on nerves and impacting mobility. A herniated disc can be caused by injury, but also can occur from aging and degenerative disease. Damaged spinal discs are more common in the cervical (neck) and lumber (lower back) spine but may occur in the thoracic or mid-back region. Thoracic herniated discs are rare and often do not have symptoms. Cervical and lumber herniated discs do have symptoms and are more likely to require treatment.
Cervical Herniated Disc Symptoms
If a disc is damaged into neck area, the following symptoms may occur:
- Weakness in the upper arm muscles
- Shoulder pain
- Numbness and weakness radiating down the back of the arm to the middle finger
- Weakness and pain in the hand
The symptoms depend on the area in the cervical spine that is affected; most people will not have all symptoms, only those related to the particular disc and nerves impacted.
Lumber Herniated Disc Symptoms
The lower back is another common area for herniated or slipped discs. Some of the symptoms include:
- Sciatica pain and numbness, which can include radiating pain and tingling through the buttocks, hip and legs
- Foot drop, which includes pain and numbness on the top of the foot, with weakness when lifting the big toe
- Weakness when standing on the toes, with pain and numbness on the soles of the feet
If you have symptoms of a herniated disc, you should visit a spine specialist. There are conservative treatments that can help reduce symptoms and minimally-invasive surgical options for more severe cases.
Posted on behalf of:
Ortho Sport and Spine Physicians
5730 Glenridge Drive Northeast #230
Atlanta, GA 30328