How to Know If You Have a Herniated Disc And Not Usual Muscle Pain?

Herniated discs can happen in any part of the spine and irritate nearby nerves. Depending on where your herniated disc is, it can result in numbness, pain, and general weakness in the arms or legs. 

Herniated discs are a common cause of lower back pain. But, how do you know if you have one? Also, what kind of treatment should you expect to receive from your doctor?

Most people suffering from a herniated disc show no severe symptoms. That's why surgery isn't usually needed for this, but since the sensations herniated discs inflict are so vague, it's challenging to distinguish them from regular muscle ache or strain. 

If you are suffering from muscle pain, it can be quite difficult to determine if the disc is herniated. There are some symptoms that will help you to distinguish between muscle and back pain. 

Here's how you can determine you've herniated a disc and aren't experiencing regular muscle aches and strains—plus common signs of herniated discs. 

Signs and Symptoms of Herniated Discs 

Many Americans suffer from herniated discs. In fact, it is a leading cause of back pain. If you’re not familiar with this condition, don’t worry – there are many different types of discs and it can be difficult to diagnose them correctly.

The most common location for herniated discs is in the lower back, though they can also happen on the neck. The signs and symptoms depend on where the disc is situated and if it's pressing on a nerve, usually affecting one side of the body.

Some herniated discs happen in your low back, but they can also occur in your neck. The signs and symptoms will vary based on where that disc has become pinched or pressed against a nerve - usually only affecting one side of your body.

Herniated discs have been a frequent topic in the news, particularly with athletes who want to continue playing. Signs of herniated disc can be neck pain, back pain, tingling sensations in your arms or legs and numbness. There are many symptoms that may also be present like headache and weakness in the extremities. If you feel any of these signs it is important to consult a doctor for an examination because treatment options vary depending on the severity of the injury as well as how disabled one has become from it. 

Athletes will often try to avoid surgery at all costs even if they are unable to compete anymore due to their injuries.

Here are the common symptoms to watch out for.

  • There are two types of back pain that you may experience: lower-back herniated disc or neck herniated disc. The most common symptom is lower-back pain, and this often starts from your buttocks down to your calf. Meanwhile, if the herniation is in the neck, you'll feel shooting pains on your arm.
  • Weakness is an unfortunate side effect that can be difficult to overcome. Muscles connected to the affected nerves generally weaken over time, affecting one's ability to lift and hold things.
  • Numbness or Tingling - People who suffer from a herniated disc often experience radiating numbness and tingling in the affected body part.

How to Tell You Have Herniated a Disc 

A herniated disc occurs when the soft center of an intervertebral disc (the jelly-like substance between your vertebrae) bulges out through a tear in its outer covering. The condition is commonly called a slipped or ruptured disc, which can cause severe back pain and other problems. 

Herniated discs are often caused by degenerative changes with age, but they also occur because of excessive physical demands on your spine. 

If you're feeling a lot of back pain, it might be because you've herniated one or more discs in your spine. Discs are soft cushions between the bones that make up the spinal column. When these get worn down, they can rupture and press on nearby nerves to cause tremendous discomfort. So what does this mean for you? 

How do we know if I'm experiencing disc problems? In short, there's no easy way to tell that this is happening without undergoing an MRI scan or having someone with expertise examine your spine. 

Besides knowing the symptoms, here are different ways to tell if your pain is caused by a herniated disc or two. 

  • Symptoms Spread Throughout Your Body - You will likely experience discomfort in your neck and legs if you have a herniated disc.
  • Unusual Sensations - Herniated discs can cause painful sensations that vary from numbness, to shock-like bursts of pain and tingling.. 
  • Pain Around the Neck/Shoulders and Back/Buttocks - When suffering from a herniated disc, symptoms often focus on the specific regions of the body.
  • Pain When Moving - Herniated discs can have more pain when the sufferer does a lot of physical activity.
  • Muscle Weakness and Fatigue - This generally happens around your arms, hands, and legs. You may be experiencing muscle weakness and fatigue if you feel like you're having a hard time doing activities around the house or at work, or even just walking. 

Muscle weakness is caused by a reduction in the number of erythrocytes in your blood, which can happen for many reasons. The most common reason is lack of iron, but it could also be due to aluminum toxicity, anemia from chronic disease like diabetes or kidney failure, hemochromatosis (too much iron), drug side effects such as chemotherapy, alcoholism and other drugs that cause reduced production of red cells called myelodysplasia


If you notice your neck or back pain traveling down your arms and legs, alongside numbness, tingling, and general weakness, you're likely to have herniated a disc—and must seek medical attention immediately. 

The most common symptom of this condition is radiating pain in the extremities. It's important that if any of these symptoms are present that patients see their doctor as soon as possible because it could be indicative of serious spinal issues such as herniation in the discs.

Want to finally rid yourself of all those nagging aches and pains? You're in luck! All-natural chiropractors are here to help you diagnose your issues, find the root cause for your pain, and fix it long-term.

New Patient Special!


Get Started on Your Wellness Transformation

Align your health naturally with one or a combination of these chiropractic essentials. We provide customized chiropractic services to help you find your unique path to transformation. Get started transforming your health today with River City Wellness, located in Austin, Texas.

River City Wellness Austin, TX

8708 S Congress Ave Suite 570
Austin, TX 78745
Tel: (512) 768-2030
Fax: (737) 931-1966
Monday8:00am -10:00am
3:00pm - 6:00pm
Tuesday3:00pm - 6:00pm
Wednesday8:00am -10:00am
3:00pm - 6:00pm
Thursday8:00am -10:00am
3:00pm - 6:00pm
FridayBy appointment only
Schedule An AppointmentBlogPrivacy PolicyTerms & Conditions
DISCLAIMER: This site does not constitute a doctor patient relationship, and is not to be confused with medical advice. All injuries are unique, and the doctor must examine the patient before recommendations can be made.
© Copyright 2021 River City Wellness. All rights reserved.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram