Spotting the Warning Signs of a Herniated Disc

Mar 15, 2023
Spotting the Warning Signs of a Herniated Disc
As one of the most common reasons for missed work, back pain can keep you behind on your responsibilities. If you deal with back pain, watch out for these common signs of a herniated disc.

You’re more likely to experience back pain at some point in your life than not. With around 80% of people reporting back pain at some point in their lives, back pain seems to be almost unavoidable. But not all back pain is the same, and it can come from various conditions and injuries. 

Pain management specialists and anesthesiologists Haddis Hagos, MD, and Brent Earls, MD, have many patients who share their concerns about back pain and perform detailed evaluations to reveal the cause. 

Pain Management Associates LLC in Greenbelt, Maryland, provides advanced treatment for chronic and acute back pain. The first step in getting the treatment you need is finding out exactly what’s causing your discomfort. Even before your professional evaluation, you might notice a few distinct signs that point to an answer. 

Herniated discs, a common source of back pain, affect the cushion-like discs that sit between the vertebrae in your spine. When a portion of the disc bulges out of its space, it’s called a herniation. 

Here are some of the top warning signs of having a herniated disc:

  1. Pain on one side of your body

You might experience pain in one of your arms or legs due to a herniated disc. No matter where the pain occurs, you can almost always count on it appearing on just one side. 

When herniated discs press on nearby nerve roots, the pain can radiate from the nerve’s root near your spine to wherever that nerve branches out to. 

  1. Numbness and muscle weakness

Pinched nerves don’t always cause pain alone: In fact, instead of feeling pain from a herniated disc, you might experience other neurological symptoms like numbness, weakness, or tingling.

Just like potential pain from a herniated disc, these symptoms appear on just one side of your body in most cases. This includes sciatica, which causes radiating pain or burning down the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body and travels from your low back through your buttock and down the back of your leg. 

  1. Symptoms that get worse when you move

When you rest for a while, or even when you sleep through the night, you might not notice symptoms like the pain of burning from a herniated disc. However, as soon as you stand up or start moving again, the symptoms can flare up. 

If you have a cervical herniated disc in your neck, for example, you might experience a pang when you turn or twist your neck. Herniated discs can flare up with less voluntary movements too, like when you cough or sneeze. 

  1. Symptom flare-ups at night

When you lie down to go to bed, the structures in your back change positions, and sometimes they place more pressure on the nerves affected by a herniated disc. For this reason, you might have more pain at night than you do in the morning before you get up. 

Back pain can be a major sleep inhibitor, and insomnia is one of the many common complications of leaving back pain untreated. Treatment for a herniated disc can help you sleep more soundly. 

Have your herniated disc symptoms evaluated

Our team at Pain Management Associates LLC can direct you to the treatment you need to alleviate the symptoms of a herniated disc. Schedule a comprehensive evaluation by phone or book an appointment online at our Greenbelt, Maryland, office today.