Disc herniation is often the outcome of a gradual, aging-related wear and tear called disc degeneration. With ageing, spinal disks lose some of their water content and become dehydrated. This condition makes them less flexible and prone to tearing or rupturing with even a minor twist or strain.
People in most cases cannot pinpoint the exact cause of their herniated disc. Occasionally, using the back muscles instead of leg and thigh muscles to lift heavy objects can lead to a herniated disc, as can twisting and turning while lifting. In rare cases, a traumatic event like a fall or a blow to the back can cause a herniated disc.
Herniated disks commonly occur in the lower back (lumbar spine), although they may also occur in your neck (cervical spine). The most common symptoms and signs of a herniated disc are:
Leg or arm pain- If the herniated disc is in the lower back, it typically leads to the most intense pain in the buttocks, thigh and calf. It may involve part of the foot as well. In case the herniated disc is in the neck, the pain will typically be intense in the shoulder and arm. This pain may shoot into the arm or leg while coughing, sneezing or moving the spine into certain positions.
Numbness or tingling- People who suffer from a herniated disc commonly experience tingling or numbness in the body parts.
Weakness- The muscles served by the affected nerves tend to weaken. This may lead you to stumble, or impair your ability to hold or lift items.