How to Tell if You Have a Herniated Disc

A herniated disc occurs when the disc, or cushioning, between two vertebrae, slips out of place. It may also be called a bulging, slipped, or ruptured disc. Herniated discs can happen from a sudden injury or can develop slowly over time due to improper body mechanics. Age can also play a role in increasing your risk of a herniated disc.

As the disc slips out of place, the vertebrae it separates also begin to move out of alignment. The disc and misaligned vertebrae push on surrounding tissues and nerves, causing compression.

A disc herniation is most common in the lower back, but it can happen between any of the 24 spinal vertebrae. 

The signs that you have a herniated disc include:

  • Intense pain in the back near the herniation site that radiates to the buttocks, thighs, and calves
  • Pain that worsens with movement or activity
  • Pain that improves while resting
  • Weakness in the affected area of the back
  • Pain in the back when lifting your leg while lying on your back

If you have any of these symptoms and suspect a herniated disc, a visit to a physician is required. You’ll need, at minimum, a physical examination to check symptoms, but some doctors may also want lab work, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests to rule out other conditions. 

Traditional treatment for a herniated disc involves medications, physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgery.

When possible, opt for a regenerative medicine practitioner with a holistic treatment plan that doesn’t just focus on symptoms, but instead treats you as a whole person.

Regenerative medicine has shown great promise in treating painful conditions such as a herniated disc. To find a practitioner near you, use our handy search feature at You can filter your search by practitioners, practices, specialties, and more!

Mira Swave, MD

Contributor at Regenerative Medicine Now

Mira Swave, M.D. is a specialist in the field of Regenerative Medicine.
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