When a disc is damaged, it may bulge or break open. This is called a herniated disc, which most commonly affects the lumbar spine. Some of the most common causes of disc injuries are simple movements such as bending forward and/or twisting, coughing/sneezing, falling and lifting. A herniated disc may or may not produce referred leg pain depending on whether any adjacent nerves have been compressed. In this case, the pain commonly extends into the hip and leg. Generally the referred leg pain is described as a shooting, electric shock type pain.
Symptoms may be one or all of the following:
- Intense sharp stabbing back pain which is worse with sitting, bending, coughing, sneezing and may prevent you from straightening up to a normal standing position.
- Leg and/or foot pain (sciatica).
- Numbness or a tingling sensation in the leg and/or foot.
- Weakness in the leg and /or foot.