Slipping or bulging a disc in the lower spine can happen to anyone. This can cause a lot of pain in your lower back or legs.

So, here are three unique signs of a disc bulge or tears which will help you identify the underlying cause of your lower back problem:

1. Pain while sitting: When we sit, we exert a lot of pressure on our lower spinal discs. So, if you have a herniated or bulging disc, this increased pressure will cause the bulge in your discs to become more pronounced. This is sure to cause a lot of pain while sitting.

2. Radiating pain into your leg: When a disc in your lower back bulge or herniate, it typically moves in the back or lateral region. Incidentally, there are spinal nerve roots near this region. The damaged discs generally affect the nerve roots in the following two ways –

  • Direct compression: If the disc’s bulge or leaking inner content directly press the spinal nerve roots as it exits the spinal canal.
  • Chemical irritation: If the herniated disc leaks out an acidic chemical that irritants the region. This may cause inflammation and irritation in the area around the nerve root.

This causes the affected nerve root to malfunction, and it leads to you feeling a burning pain along with weakness, numbness, or tingling in your back and entire leg. These symptoms are generally called sciatica. The symptoms and signs of sciatica typically affect one leg at a time.

3. Pain aggravated by specific activities: If you are suffering from lower back pain or sciatica. Then certain activities can worsen this pain. These activities are:

  • Bending forward/down
  • Lifting a heavy object
  • Pushing or pulling a heavy object
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing

A lumbar herniated disc pain is very rapid. In many cases, there is no clear or single reason for the pain, such as an injury or traumatic event. Yet the person feels sudden unbearable pain.
However, the good news is that many patients don’t see the symptoms for too long. Almost 90% of the people suffering from painful lumbar disc herniation reports that the pain vanishes within six weeks, even if they didn’t receive any medical treatment for it.

Warning signs and when to see a doctor

If you see any of the above telltale signs, then visit a doctor soon. The doctor will examine you for a herniated disc. The diagnosis generally includes a combination of nonsurgical treatments, such as pain-relieving medications and a guided physical therapy program. If the pain is unbearable, you will be referred to an interventional pain specialist for image-guided lumbar injections.

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