So just what are herniated disc symptoms? Well before I answer that question, let me give you a brief description of what a herniated disc is -:
The discs that sit between each vertebra in our spinal column, act as shock absorbers, and assist our bodies with twisting, turning and lifting, and also enable us the flexibility we need to perform our day to day activities.
These discs are made of a tough cartilage outer casing (annulus), and are filled with a softer – jelly like matter (nucleus). When one or more of these discs are stressed or injured – the outer shell of the disc can rupture, forcing the jelly like centre to push through into the spinal canal, and can put pressure or ‘pinch’ the nerves that exit the spine.
This is called a herniated disc. Now it is possible that herniated disc symptoms may not include back pain at all – Let me explain. The nerves that exit the spine serve the muscles in our buttocks legs and feet, so if any of the nerves that exit the spine are compressed irritated or inflamed, it is likely that you will suffer most of the pain in these lower areas.
In fact one of the main herniated disc symptoms is called Sciatica, a symptom which gives mainly buttock and leg pain.
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body and has a diameter of approximately 1cm.
The path of the nerve runs from the base of the spine, through the buttock and back of the leg, into the ankle and round to the top of your foot.
When the sciatic nerve becomes irritated from the herniated disc, you are likely to have pain at any point on the path of the nerve, however most people complain of pain in one of the buttocks and/or hips and the back of the leg.
Other herniated disc symptoms caused by sciatica are lower back pain – usually on one side, plus pins and needles and numbness, especially in the shin or top of the foot. In severe cases of a herniated disc a compressed nerve can cause bladder and bowel problems.
Medical intervention is usually required in these instances. Another main cause of herniated disc symptoms is degenerative disc disease; however, this is not really a disease but more like a long term, wear and tear process. As we grow older the same discs that we have been talking about start to wear away, causing the outer shell of the disc to corrode or crack.
So as well as the nucleus putting pressure on the nerves we now have the problem of fragments of the outer disc breaking away and falling into the spinal canal, which can cause even further problems and nerve compression.
Looking on positive side herniated disc symptoms can be treated quite easily and quickly, with conservative treatments and pain relief remedies.
A simple targeted lower back pain exercise program and stretching exercises are the most efficient treatments.