Telltale Signs of a Disc Herniation

Telltale Signs of a Disc Herniation

A lot of back pain is the result of spinal disk herniations. The spinal disks sit between your vertebrae and act as elastic cushions for your backbone. Sometimes an injury from impact or overexertion causes the disks to rupture or get knocked out of place, jabbing into nerve bundles and back muscles.
This is especially common among older patients. Over time the disks become stiffer and tougher. This means that they’re more likely to break than bend, and you can expect them to take longer to recover from injuries. There are some things you should look for if you suspect you have a disc herniation.


  • Pain – Herniation of any disk results in a sharp, stabbing pain. Usually this manifests itself near the spine, but it sometimes results in sciatica. In this case, you may feel pain in your legs or sides even though the injury is in your spine. In addition, a tingly, burning sensation is common near the area of the injury.
  • Weakness – The herniation will have you moving delicately and gingerly. If it pinches your spinal nerves in the right place, it can also reduce feeling and response in your extremities. A neck disc herniation can result in tingly numbness your arms and hands. The same can happen to your legs and feet with a lower back herniation.


  1. The pain from a herniated disk is usually increased dramatically by any or all of these actions
  2. Sneezing or coughing
  3. Lifting a heavy weight, especially in a way that uses your back muscles
  4. Pushing when making a bowel movement
  5. Bending forward or backward from the waste.

Home Remedies

Given time, most disc herniations will repair themselves. Mild instances can heal quickly with rest and proper application of home treatments.

  • Inversion table – These devices hold you upside down from the legs, allowing gravity to pull your body in separate directions. Use one of these tables to stretch and lengthen your spine, providing more room for your discs to fall into place. Be careful not to stay inverted too long; you can get lightheaded and even pass out.
  • McKenzie exercises – These are exercises, stretches, and positions that promote spinal extension of the vertebrae and back muscles. Do a little research on these or as a physical trainer about them.

Medical Treatments

If home therapy options don’t work, there are several medical options to take care of the problem:

  • Spinal decompression therapy – This advanced physical therapy method uses a machine to angle your spine into a more favorable form. After several short sessions, the herniated disk is usually repaired or well on its way.
  • Surgery – If all else fails, surgery can be used to tackle the problem directly. There are several types of surgery that can be used, depending on the location and severity of the injury.

Want to know more about disc herniation or any of its related symtoms and treatments? Check out our website for more information!

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About Dr. Jose Guevara

Dr. Jose Guevara, DC is board-certified in chiropractic medicine, therapeutic modalities and physiotherapy. He is passionate about health and well-being. Dr. Guevara helps people attain and maintain their optimal physical condition. He continues to keep up with the ever-changing world of medicine, using his knowledge and skills to help people in pain.

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