Neck and Lower Back Pain

Back Surgery Information

Herniated Disc Causes Neck and Lower Back Pain

Two of the evident symptoms of a herniated disc are neck and lower back pain discomforts. Although these symptoms may also be caused by other factors such as a fractured back and too much stress, chronic neck and lower back twinges are most likely due to a herniated disc. But what is a herniated disc and how does it cause the said symptoms?

What is a Herniated Disc?

Before one can totally understand what a herniated disc is, a background of the spine’s anatomy is essential. Disks or discs are rubbery and soft cushions located in-between the vertebrae (hard bones) that constitute the spinal column. Spinal discs enable the vertebrae to flex or bend, thus allowing back movements. In addition, spinal discs also serve as shock absorbers.

What constitute the lumbar spinal discs (lower back) are outer rings of cartilage (called an annulus) and an inner matter with a gel-like consistency (nucleus). Cervical spinal discs (neck) are also made of the same substances, however, they are much more smaller.

When a spinal disc herniates or displaces from its position or ruptures, the condition is called as a herniated disc. Herniation occurs when the disc’s nucleus pushes itself out of the annulus thereby creating pressure on the spinal nerves.

This pressure exerted unto the spinal nerves causes the neck and lower back pain suffered by individuals with a herniated disc condition.

About Neck and Lower Back Pain

Four out of five people often suffer from lower back pain. Backs pains can be due to factors other than a herniated disc. However, if an individual suffers from lower back pain coupled with “sciatica” – a sharp and shooting pain radiating to the buttocks and the back of one leg, he or she needs to see the doctor to check for herniated disc.

Sciatica is the most common symptom of herniated disc – it’s due to the pressure exerted unto the spinal nerve. Other lower body symptoms associated with a herniated disc are the following:

Numbness or tingling sensation (pins and needles) manifesting in one buttock or leg.
Weakness in one leg.
Loss of bowel or bladder control

On the other hand, the neck pain caused by a herniated disc is due to the pressure exerted unto a nerve located in the neck that brings pain in the trapezius muscles. This pain may radiate to the arm and even cause headaches on the occipital area (back) of the head. Other upper extremity symptoms include:

Numbness or tingling sensation in one arm.
Weakness in one arm.
Pain (burning-like) in the neck, shoulders, or arm.

Chronic neck and lower back pain associated with a herniated disc should be given attention. The treatment for this spinal condition often involves lower back surgery though it is used as a last resort.