LUMBAR DISC PROBLEM - SYMPTOMS Herniated disc
Slipped or bulginb disc

What are Symptoms of Bulging, Protruding, Slipped, Ruptured or Herniated Lumbar Discs?

    General description:

    A bulging disc - bulges - it is a contained disc disorder. A bulging disc appears swollen as some tough outer layers of the disc expand and may actually protrude into the spinal canal without breaking open.

    A herniated disc, a non-contained disc disorder, results when a crack occurs and some of the disc's softer material protrudes or leaks out of the disc. (Herniated disks are also termed ruptured disks or slipped disks.)

    Bulging discs are more common than herniated discs and herniated discs are more likely to cause pain. Many people, however, have bulging disks or even herniated disks that are entirely painless.


    Bulging, protruding, ruptured, slipped and herniated discs may present similar symptoms and will be referred to only as "herniated" discs for this segment dealing with symptoms. A 'herniated' disc can cause pain in the back, buttocks and the legs.

    Disc problems Pain location depends upon which disc is affected (weak, bulging or leaking). Severity of pain is dependent on how much of the disc is pinching / compressing a nerve.

    Pain can just be isolated to the back but often spreads over the buttocks and travels down the back of one thigh and into the calf. When this occurs, it is commonly referred to as Sciatica.

    Numbness and tingling all the way down the legs and into the feet can also be caused by a herniated disc in the lumbar region. A herniated disc pressing on the lumbar nerves can also cause leg weakness. The muscle group weakened depends uppon the nerve impinged. Back pain alone without buttock or leg pain can have many causes other than a bulging disc.

    The pain from a herniated disc is usually worse when the individual is active and is relieved when the individual rests. Driving, coughing, bending forward, sitting or sneezing may cause an increase in pain. The pain may increase during these movements because each can apply more pressure to the nerve.



Summary: In general symptoms of a lumbar 'herniated' disc (not a disc in the neck area) may include dull or sharp pain, sciatics, leg weakness, numbness, muscle spasm or cramping, or loss of leg function.

NOTE: In the rare case that bowel or bladder control is lost, immediately seek medical attention.


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