Generally preceded by backache
Initial hernia symptoms
Generally speaking, the onset of a hernia is preceded by backache. The great majority of patients will have experienced lumbago. However, a spinal hernia does not just affect the back, but radiates down a leg and may present with numbness or pins and needles. The pain affects the area served by the sciatic nerve, on which the hernia is pressing. Pressure on this nerve may also result in a loss of strength in a leg or foot muscle.
Paralysis or a tingle
Nerves serve a dual function: they serve the muscles, but also an area of skin. Each nerve serves its own muscle and area of skin. Affected nerves may cause paralysis of one or multiple muscles, numbness or tingling. Since coughing, sneezing or straining causes the pressure in the spinal canal, and therefore the pressure exerted on the sciatic nerve, to increase, the pain radiating down the leg may temporarily become more intense. We can often tell from a patient’s description of his leg ache and of the nature of any loss of strength that may have occurred which nerve has been affected.