How To Tell If Back Pain or Sciatic Pain Is From A Spinal Disc
Often patients are concerned about whether their back pain or leg pain signs and symptoms are caused by a spinal disc injury and inquire about how to tell if their back pain or leg pain is from a spinal disc injury. While this article is not intended to diagnose your back pain or provide treatment advise, we can offer a few clues to ask your chiropractor about. Generally speaking, spinal disc injuries or spinal disc pain often display some or all of the following signs and symptoms:
- Increased back pain or leg pain (sciatica) with coughing, sneezing, laughing or straining on the toilet. These activities increase the pressure in the injured spinal disc.
- Increased back pain or leg pain with sitting and/or driving or sitting in a car. While you may think that sitting is resting your back, it is not resting your lower lumbar spinal discs! Your lower back discs are working hard when you sit. Sitting increases the pressure in the lower back discs.
- Increased pain when bending forward at the waist. This type of motion increases the pressure in the lower back discs producing pain.
- Pain or numbness in one or both legs or feet. Spinal disc injuries can refer pain into the legs or feet by compressing or irritating the nerves that travel to the legs and feet as they exit the spine. In lay terms, this is often referred to as a pinched nerve. Pain that travels down the back of the leg past the knee is referred to as sciatica or sciatic pain.
- Weakness in the legs or feet. Lumbar disc injuries can cause foot drop, which is the inability to lift the front of the foot as you walk, producing a foot slapping or dragging gait.
- Loss of bowel or bladder control. These are red flag signs of potential severe lumbar disc injury that places pressure on the nerves that control the bowels and/or bladder, thus disturbing their function.
If you have any of these spinal disc injury signs or symptoms, contact Dr. Ram Parikh, D.C., or other health care provider. Chiropractors are well trained in the evaluation and care of disc injury, back pain and sciatica (sciatic pain).