Most of the symptoms related to damaged spinals discs are caused by irritation or compression of the spinal nerves. The discs of the spine are located next to the nerve passage-ways (small holes in the spine known as foramen, through which the spinal nerves exit). When there is disorder within the discs, the spinal nerves may become pinched, leading to the often severe and sometimes immobilizing symptoms of disc injuries.
The individual experience of a disc injury is closely related to where in the spine the damage has occurred. Although the entire spine is vulnerable, the discs of the cervical spine (the neck) and the lumbar spine (the lower back) are most commonly affected.
In the Lumbar Spine
When disc problems occur in the lower back, symptoms may include pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness in the legs, and the sharp pains associated with sciatica (when the bulging or herniated disc material compresses the sciatic nerve).
In the Cervical Spine/Neck
In the cervical spine, disc injuries can lead to neck pain, shooting pains down the shoulders and arms, weakness in the arms or hands, numbness, tingling, and headache.