Herniated Disc Symptoms

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Herniated Disc


Herniated Disc Symptoms
Pain from a Herniated disc will depend on a number of factors.

So, what are the main herniated disc symptoms?

The simple answer is pain!

However, there are many potential symptoms and types of pain that you can expect if you have a herniated disc. I have provided a summary of them in this article, but if they sound familiar to what you are experiencing, please do not ignore these symptoms as they require immediate medical investigation. It is important to diagnose your symptoms fully with the assistance of a suitably qualified medical professional before deciding on the correct course of treatment,

Some of the questions we need to consider when examining the symptoms of disc herniation are:

  • Where is the herniated and any associated pain situated?
  • Which direction is the disc herniated towards?
  • How far away from its correct position has the disc herniated towards?
  • Is the herniation impinging on a nerve?

Let’s have a further detailed look at these symptoms and their extent:

  1. Which disc is herniated in your spine. Each disc in your spine is situated beside a specific nerve. Depending on what nerve it is will dictate where you feel your pain and/or, pins and needles and numbness. If the disc at C5/6 that is your cervical 5th and 6th disc is herniated, it may pinch on the nerve beside C5 or C6. Both theses nerves if impinged will refer pain down your arm often as far as your fingers. Alternatively, if your L5/S1 disc is herniated you may feel pain down the back or side of your leg due the reference of the nerves arising from these spinal levels.

  2. What direction the disc is herniated towards. The direction the disc is herniated towards will also influence your pain pattern. If it is herniated to the right your symptoms will be over the right side of your lower back and/or down the right leg. If the disc is oozing to the left your symptoms will be on your left lower back. If it is central your symptoms will be central at large.

  3. How far away from its correct position the disc has herniated to. If your disc is herniated a long way from its correct position your symptoms will be stronger, and your pain will be worse. Smaller herniations generally lead to smaller symptoms, so the size of your herniation diagnosed from MRI scanning is significant.

  4. Whether the disc is impinging on a nerve, or not, and to what extent the nerve is impinged. If the herniated disc impinges on the nerve you will most likely have leg or arm symptoms. If it is not you will generally only have back or neck pain symptoms.

  5. If the disc herniation compromising your spinal canal. Serious disc herniations are the ones that affect the spinal canal. Symptoms arising from this include an inability to control the passing of urine and/or stools and numbness in your saddle area.

Read more about Herniated Disc

Here are some more article on Herniated Discs.

Treating Herniated Discs
Exercises for Herniated Discs


Click here to to back to a selection of articles on Herniated Discs

Sponsored links


While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

Please read the full disclaimer here.

Cookies and Privacy

By using this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy. For more information on how we use cookies, please read our cookie policy here.