Herniated Disc Symptoms: What to Look For

When it comes to treating the symptoms of a herniated disc, there are several options. Depending on the nature and severity of your herniated disc symptoms, you may find that different suggestions are made. One thing that is very important is to have a clear understanding of exactly the nature and location of your herniation. Often times, a disc bulge or herniation can mimic other low back pain complaints. There are trigger points, muscle spasms, facet syndrome and piriformis syndrome conditions to rule out.

One thing that typically classifies the symptoms of a herniated disc is the presence of radiating pain. If we are looking at the lower back area, then often there is pain radiating into the buttock or leg. This can also be confused with another condition, called piriformis syndrome. This is when the sciatic nerve is compressed form the piriformis muscle in the buttock area. Sciatica treatment may consist of similar approaches in both cases, with muscle stretching and flexibility being emphasized with the piriformis syndrome presentation.

Further, depending on the location of that bulge or herniation in the lumbar spine, the presenting symptoms will be in different areas. Some common findings include tingling, numbness, altered sensation, lighting-type pain, pain that can be traced down the leg and muscle weakness or fatigue. In severe cases, one may lose control of the bladder or bowel function. This is actually a medical emergency and is something to be taken very seriously.

In the neck area, a herniated disc can present with similar symptoms as in the lower back, though the arm, hand and fingers will be affected. Your health care practitioner can determine where the likely source of your herniation is but will ultimately rely on an X-ray and MRI for conclusive proof.

Before you are diagnosed by your local health care provider, there are some signs that you can look for yourself. If you have pain when defocating, sneezing or coughing, these are all further classic symptoms of a herniated disc. Very often, pain will be lessened when lying down and may even improve with standing. Because of the amount of pressure caused by sitting, this position can increase the symptoms of a disc bulge.

When your health care provider does her or her consultation, what you reveal will often lead them to a diagnosis that is simply confirmed with the examination. For example, doing certain orthopedic tests will further clarify to your practitioner how to go about treating you or referring you to someone who can. Herniated disc treatment consists of both conservative and more radical procedures.

Conservative management may consist of medicines like corticosteroids and anti-inflammatories. Ice and rest may also be recommended, followed by physical therapy and home exercises. These are all the classic Western medical treatment options.

If you are looking for an alternative to the medical path, then consider acupuncture, chiropractic and even home care or nutritional support. These should all be attempted only after consulting with your local practitioner of any of these techniques mentioned. Gilbert chiropractor, Dr. Michael J. Funicello, has been helping people with concerns ranging from herniated disc symptoms to daily headaches since 1998. We would be happy to help you as well. Contact us today to schedule your initial visit.


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