What Does A Herniated Disc In The Neck Feel Like?

A herniated disk is essentially a problem with one of the cushions between the vertebrae that comprise your spine.

Generally. The spinal disk is a soft, jellylike center that sits within a strong, rubber-like exterior. Also known as a ruptured disk or a slipped disk, the herniated disk occurs when there is a tear in that outer portion and some of these nuclei push through the tear.

Note that the herniated disk can occur at any area of the spine. It irritates the nerve, and based on where the herniated disk is, you could suffer pain and numbness in your hands or legs.

Most people who have herniated disks don’t show any symptoms. The problem also doesn’t require any surgery for treatment.


A majority of herniated disk cases occur in the lower back. The signs you see will depend on where the problem is, as well as how badly the herniated disk is pressing on a nerve. The signs will also most likely affect just one side of the body.

General signs include the following:

Pain in the arm or leg: If the herniated disk is on your lower back, you’ll most likely feel some pain in you calk, thigh, and backside. There could also be some pains in your foot. On the flip side, herniated disks in your neck lead to pains in the shoulder and arm. You could find that the pain will shoot to your leg or arm when you sneeze, cough, or move in some positions.

  • Numbness or tingling. People who have a herniated disk often have radiating numbness or tingling in the body part served by the affected nerves.
  • Weakness. Muscles served by the affected nerves tend to weaken. This can cause you to stumble, or affect your ability to lift or hold items.

Some herniated disk cases also happen without any symptoms. In these cases, you will need an x-ray to even know you have a herniated disk.

When you need to see a doctor

You should immediately call a doctor when you find pain traveling through your back or neck, all the way to your leg or arm. Also, call a doctor if you notice tingling, numbness, or weakness.


Most times, herniated disks are caused by gradual, age-related wear and tear of your disks. This phenomenon, known as disk degeneration, is the result of age. Your disks become less flexible and are more prone to rupturing with the slightest strain.

Most people won’t be able to ascertain the cause of a herniated disk. Sometimes, using the muscles in your back – as opposed to those in your thigh and leg – to lift objects can cause a herniated dis too. You could also get the problem from twisting and turning as you try to lift something.

Risk Factors

Some factors that can increase the risk of a herniated disc include:

  • Weight: Being overweight adds more pressure to your lower back and discs.
  • Occupation: People who work physically-demanding jobs will also get higher risks of a herniated disc. These jobs usually include a lot of bending, pushing, pulling, and lifting.
  • Genetics: It is possible to inherit a propensity for a herniated disc.
  • Smoking: Some believe that smoking reduces the supply of oxygen to your discs, causing them to easily break.


Your spinal cord ends exactly above your waist. From then on, you have long nerve roots that look like the tail of a horse – also known as cauda equina. In rare occasions, disc herniation can compress your spinal canal, including the nerves in the cauda equina. In these cases, you might need an emergency check in to avoid permanent paralysis por weakness.

If you have any of the following, seek medical attention:

  • Worsening symptoms: The weakness and pain can get so bad that they begin to affect your daily life.
  • Bladder or bowel dysfunction: Cauda equina syndrome can make it difficult for you to urinate – even if you have a full bladder.
  • Saddle anesthesia: This is a progressive loss of sensation that affects your most sensitive parts – the area around your rectum, your inner thighs


The following can help to prevent a herniated disc:

  • Exercise. By strengthening the trunk muscles, you can stabilize the spine.
  • Maintain good posture. This will greatly reduce the pressure on your discs and spine. Straighten and align your back and life objects with your legs – not your back.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight will put excess pressure on your discs and spine, opening them top the possibility of a herniation.
  • Quit smoking. Avoid the use of any tobacco products

What Our Doctors Have To Say About What A Herniated Disc Feels Like


Dr. J. Alex Sielatychi