A slipped disc does not always result in any symptoms. In fact, the discomfort will only arise if displaced soft tissue irritates the damaged wall or compresses a sensitive spinal nerve or root of the spinal cord itself. The nature and location of the symptoms will depend on the size of the damaged disc. A slipped disc in the lumbar spine can cause tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and spasms that radiate from the lower back through the buttocks, hips, legs, and feet. In other cases, a damaged disc in the cervical spine can lead to slipped disc symptoms in the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands. Slipped discs and other degenerative spine conditions often affect the lumbar region of the spine, which supports much of the body’s weight and therefore is especially prone to damage from the effects of ongoing wear and tear.
In rare cases, patients may experience paralysis, bowel dysfunction, or bladder dysfunction, which indicates a life-threatening medical emergency called cauda equina syndrome that must be treated immediately.