Slipped Disc Symptoms


Extreme, sudden pain is usually the first symptom. Since most herinations involve the bottom two discs in the spinal column, the pain usually begins in the lower back. The bulging disc in this location exerts pressure on the sciatic nerve, and sharp pain may follow that nerve all the way down the leg and into the foot. Pressure on this nerve may eventually cause numbness or "pins and needles" sensation. Over time, the surrounding muscles can weaken and shrink in size. Discs may also rupture at higher levels in the spine causing pain and weakness in the neck, shoulders and arms.

If you experience new onset of trouble controlling urine (bladder incontinence), difficulty controlling bowel movements (bowel incontinence), or numbness in the perineal region (saddle region), usually noticed after wiping in the bathroom, should contact a physician immediately as these may be signs of cauda equina syndrome which is a surgical emergency. In this condition, the disc herniation is extremely large and presses on the nerve roots affecting bowel and bladder control. The best chance to regain these functions is through prompt surgical decompression of the affected area. Thankfully, this condition is rare.

Even if the initial pain subsides, it is important that the condition be diagnosed and treated in order to prevent further damage.

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