A herniated or slipped disc is a common back problem that can be uncomfortable and painful. Located in between each of the vertebrae in your spine are discs—rubbery cushions that serve as shock absorbers and provide spinal flexibility. Each disc has a tough exterior that encases a jelly-like substance, but when the exterior breaks down due to age or injury, that substance can push out, irritating nearby nerves. Although some people don't have any symptoms or back pain, there are some telltale signs you have a slipped disc.
Common Signs of a Herniated Disc
1. Back Pain While Sitting
A slipped disc in your lower spine can cause significant pain while you’re sitting. Sitting puts extra pressure on the lower back, increasing the bulge from the disc and causing more nerve irritation and pain. If you find relief from back pain when you stand, it may be due to a slipped disc.
2. Discomfort in the Arms and Legs
A slipped disc in your spine might not affect your back at all, but rather appear as pain, numbness, or tinging in your arms and legs. A herniated disc can cause direct compression on the nerves near your spine, affecting whichever body part is served by that nerve. Sometimes, it can also cause chemical irritation; the disc fluid can inflame and irritate the nerve’s root. Where you experience pain depends on the location of the slipped disc; discs in the lower spine will affect the buttocks, legs, and feet, while those in the upper spine can cause pain in the shoulders, arms, and neck.
3. Sharp Pain During Certain Activities
Sometimes, you may not feel any discomfort from your slipped disc—until you do a specific activity. If you suddenly experience back pain when you cough or sneeze, bend forward, or lift a heavy object, it could be due to a herniated disc. Often the pain seems to come out of nowhere and may diminish after time.
4. Muscle Weakness
Some people experience muscle weakness as a sign of a slipped disc. The pressure on the nerves can reduce your muscles’ ability to function, causing you to lose your balance, stumble, or lose your grip on objects. This weakness may or may not happen in conjunction with pain.
If you’re experiencing the signs of a slipped disc or any back pain, the team at Nobbe Chiropractic Clinic can help. Located in Columbia, IL, this chiropractic practice provides a range of therapies to reduce pain and improve your overall function. They’ll help pinpoint the cause of your discomfort, and in addition to treatment, provide guidance and advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle and prevent further pain or injury. Learn more about the practice online, and call (618) 281-4000 to schedule an appointment.