What Does Herniated Disc Pain Feel Like?

If you have a herniated lumbar disc, you may feel pain that radiates from your low back area, down one or both legs, and sometimes into your feet (called sciatica).

Sometimes the pain is accompanied by numbness and tingling in your leg or foot.

You may experience cramping or muscle spasms in your back or leg.

How painful is a herniated disc?

If your herniated disk is in your lower back, you’ll typically feel the most pain in your buttocks, thigh and calf. Pain is often described as sharp or burning. Numbness or tingling. People who have a herniated disk often have radiating numbness or tingling in the body part served by the affected nerves.

Can a herniated disc heal on its own?

Usually a herniated disc will heal on its own over time. Be patient, and keep following your treatment plan. If your symptoms don’t get better in a few months, you may want to talk to your doctor about surgery.

What happens if a herniated disc goes untreated?

An untreated, severe slipped disc can lead to permanent nerve damage. In very rare cases, a slipped disc can cut off nerve impulses to the cauda equina nerves in your lower back and legs. If this occurs, you may lose bowel or bladder control.

How do you diagnose a herniated disc?

In most cases of herniated disk, a physical exam and a medical history are all that’s needed for a diagnosis.

Imaging tests

  • X-rays. Plain X-rays don’t detect herniated disks, but they can rule out other causes of back pain, such as an infection, tumor, spinal alignment issues or a broken bone.
  • CT scan.
  • MRI.
  • Myelogram.