Herniated, slipped, or ruptured disc symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people may complain of a slight tingling sensation or a dull ache. Other people may have pain that is so severe that they cannot move. Typically, pain, tingling, or numbness will only affect one side of the person’s body as well.
In order to understand the ruptured disc symptoms, it is beneficial to understand the underlying condition. The vertebrae of the spine are cushioned or separated by discs that have a hard outer shell that surrounds a soft, jelly-like substance inside the disc. The discs work to absorb shock and keep the spine supple. They can bulge, tear, or rupture and put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves along the back. The numbness or pain is the result of the pressure that is placed on the nerves.
If the disc is ruptured in the lower back, many people will experience sharp pains in one leg, buttock, or hip. They may have numbness in a different area, but the pain will only be on one side of the body. In addition, the affected side of the body may feel weaker.
If the disc is ruptured near the neck, the ruptured disc symptoms likely will be different. For example, the person may experience pain when she moves her neck. There may also be sharp pains near a shoulder blade. With a ruptured cervical disc, the pain may radiate down the arm and into the fingers.
One of the main ruptured disc symptoms is that the pain typically begins slowly. After certain activities, such as sitting, standing, sneezing, laughing, coughing, and bending, it may progressively worsen. Sometimes a person affected by a ruptured disc may go weeks without experiencing pain. Other times, the pain is a daily occurrence.
There are other ruptured disc symptoms with varying degrees of numbness and pain. For example, some people experience tingling around their genital area or their anus. Other people complain of sciatica, or pain that radiates through the buttocks, down the leg, to the knee. Occasionally, people will experience problems controlling their bladders or their bowel movements as well.
Since the ruptured disc symptoms vary widely, it is important to consult a doctor if any changes occur, even after the condition has been diagnosed. Some symptoms may be surprising and only a doctor can tell if there is a secondary condition causing pain, numbness or tingling. If the ruptured disc is not pressing against a nerve, there may only be minimal or no pain. Once it begins to press on a nerve, pain should be expected.