Herniated Disc Symptoms


Herniated Disc symptoms tend to be fairly consistent and typically begin with back pain that is followed by lower buttock and then leg pain. In time, the back pain goes away, but the Sciatic Nerve Pain Remains.

The onset of Herniated Disc Symptoms often occurs first thing in the morning and begins with back pain. Sitting will aggravate sacroiliac and leg pain. Standing or lying down gives some relief. Patients find it difficult to bend over to tie their shoes and coughing, sneezing and straining to make a bowel movement tend to aggravate symptoms. Some patients cannot sleep unless they are on the floor- and sleep is negatively affected by pain and frequent awakenings.

Common Lumbar Herniated Disc Symptoms:

  • Leg pain. The leg pain is typically worse than low back pain and is deep, sharp and shooting. If the pain radiates along the path of the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg, it is referred to as Sciatica or radiculopathy. Click here for Sciatic nerve pain patterns.
  • Nerve pain. The most noticeable symptoms are usually described as nerve pain in the leg, with the pain being described as searing, sharp, electric, radiating, or piercing.
  • Variable location of symptoms. Depending on variables such as where the disc herniates and the degree of herniation, symptoms may be experienced in the low back, buttock, front or back of the thigh, the calf, foot and/or toes, and typically affects just one side of the body.
  • Neurological symptoms. Numbness, a pins-and-needles feeling, weakness, and/or tingling may be experienced in the leg, foot, and/or toes.
  • Foot drop. Neurological symptoms caused by the herniation may include difficulty lifting the foot when walking or standing on the ball of the foot, a condition known as foot drop.
  • Lower back pain. Lower back pain, throbbing or stiffness may be present, but not always. In some cases, initially, lower back pain is experienced, which then goes away after a few days. It is then replaced by leg symptoms.
  • Pain that worsens with movement. Pain may follow prolonged standing or sitting, or after walking even a short distance. A laugh, sneeze, or other sudden action may also intensify the pain.
  • Pain that worsens from hunching forward. Many find that positions such as slouching or hunching forward in a chair, or bending forward at the waist, makes the leg pain markedly worse.
  • Quick onset. Lumbar herniated disc pain usually develops quickly, although there may be no identifiable action or event that triggered the pain.

Most of the pain is thought to be due to inflammation as herniated disc material extends into the spinal canal and presses on one of the adjacent nerve roots.

Fortunately, in 90% of cases, pain eases within six weeks. Despite its short duration, the pain can be excruciating and make it difficult to participate in everyday activities and responsibilities. Unfortunately, for some, the pain can become chronic and/or debilitating.


At Toronto Orthotics Foot, Leg & Back Pain Clinic, Dr. Horowitz offers effective Treatments for Disc Herniation without the use of drugs or surgery.

Call (647) 349-4909 for an appointment or ask Dr. Horowitz a question about Herniated Disc, complete and submit the form below: