Can a Herniated Disc in the Low Back Cause Neck Pain?

Category: Back Pain, Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 28, 2014

herniated discWe have talked about herniated discs at length on this site (read more here). Herniated discs can cause pain and numbness in the area surrounding the herniation. But can a herniated disc in the low back cause pain in the neck (or vice versa)? That is the topic for today’s blog.

Herniated Discs

A herniated disc is a spinal disc that has ruptured and pushed its way into other areas of the spine. Disc herniation can happen for a number of reasons (injury, old age, and other associated spinal conditions). One of the primary symptoms of a herniated disc is pain in the affected region of the spine and back. But can a herniated disc in one region of the spine cause severe pain in another region? In other words, if a patient has a herniated disc in their lower back, can that directly result in severe neck pain?

How Pain Travels Along the Spine

In order to answer this question, we need to talk a little bit about how pain signals travel up and down the spine. The spine is essentially a pathway through which our nerves travel. Nerves begin in the brain, travel down the spine, and then to all other areas of the body. When a herniated disc impedes on a nerve it can cause pain and other issues.

Pain in one area of the spine can be the result of an injury or condition that originates in another region of the spine. For example, a slipped disc in the neck, may lead to pain that radiates down through the arms, and chest. If the condition is severe enough, a herniated cervical disc can even lead to pain or weakness in the lower body.

Back pain and numbness in the extremities is nothing to be ignored. If left unchecked, these symptoms can lead to permanent nerve damage. Contact your doctor to set up an appointment if you have any of these symptoms.

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