Is the numbness or the numbness an indication of a herniated disc?


Between the vertebrae of the human spine are the Intervertebral discs (Disci Intervertebrales), also called Band washers are designated. These discs consist of a fiber ring (Annulus fibrosus) and a soft, gelatinous core (Nucleus Pulposus). At a disc prolapse the stable fiber ring is damaged, the holding function of the fibers is destroyed, the core slips into the Spinal canal before and can Spinal cord as well as surrounding nerves are affected. In addition to pain, numbness in the extremities (arms or legs) is often symptomatic of a herniated disc. Depending on which part of the spine is affected, numbness results in different parts of the body.

  • Recognizing a slipped disc - these are the symptoms
  • Herniated disc with nerve damage

Duration of numbness

Nerve damage from a herniated disc must be operated on if it causes numbness or paralysis. At the latest after the operation (see: Operation in the case of a herniated disc), the symptoms of the herniated disc should then subside very quickly, as the compressed nerve root was exposed again in the course of the operation.

Permanent damage can result if the operation has been waited too long and the nerves are already irrevocably damaged. In the worst case, massive damage from a herniated disc can lead to paraplegia. Permanent damage to the cervical spine after herniated discs can be numbness of the arms or weak muscles.

Read more on the subject at: Duration of a herniated disc

Appointment with a specialist for a herniated disc?

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My name is dr. Nicolas Gumpert. I am a specialist in orthopedics and the founder of .
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A herniated disc is difficult to treat. On the one hand it is exposed to high mechanical loads, on the other hand it has great mobility.

Therefore, treating a herniated disc requires a lot of experience.
The aim of any treatment is treatment without surgery.

Which therapy achieves the best results in the long term can only be determined after looking at all of the information (Examination, X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.) be assessed.

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Numbness in different parts of the body

Numbness of the face

Numbness of the face due to a herniated disc is rare. In rare cases it can of course be the case that a sensory disturbance in the face in the form of tingling and numbness can be traced back to a cervical disc herniation (see: cervical disc herniation) or a cervical spine syndrome. The deafness does not appear as an isolated symptom, but is associated with other complaints such as headache and neck pain, visual disturbances and noises in the ears.

In the clinical examination, it is important to clearly delineate the numb areas on the face. This makes it possible to rule out radicular damage to the fifth cranial nerve (trigeminal nerve). This leads to numbness in the face, arranged like onion skin. The differentiation from the herniated disc with tingling and numbness in the face is therefore very important.

Read more on the subject at:

  • Symptoms of a herniated disc of the cervical spine
  • Symptoms of cervical spine syndrome

Numbness in arm / hand / fingers

Deaf arms, hands or fingers are most likely to indicate a herniated disc in the cervical spine. The nerves that supply the arm and neck area emerge from the spinal cord between the cervical vertebrae. The nerves between the cervical vertebrae (C5-C7) and the first thoracic vertebra (Th1) form the so-called arm nerve plexus (plexus brachialis), which is responsible for the muscular and sensitive supply of the arms, hands and fingers. The three main nerves in the arms are:

  • Radial nerve (Nervus Radialis)
  • Median nerve (Nervus medianus)
  • Ulnar nerve

When such a nerve is damaged, numbness and muscle weakness occur in the arm and hand. The median nerve is usually responsible for numbness and muscle weakness in the forearm, while numbness of the fingers often results from damage to the ulnar nerve. Deaf fingers therefore suggest that the lower intervertebral discs of the cervical spine are impaired, as the nerve is fed from precisely these parts.

Also read more on the topic :

  • Herniated disc of the cervical spine
  • Numbness in the arm
  • Herniated disc C5 / 6

Numbness in the genital area

For the Sensitivity in the genital area are Nerves from the lower lumbar (see: lumbar spine) and sacral spinal cord segments responsible - more precisely L1, L2, S2, S3 and S4. If the numbness is more in the upper area, roughly at the level of the pubic hair, then there is usually a herniated disc in segment L1. The nerves from this segment also supply the sensitive skin area above the groin and into the genital area (see: dermatome). In men, for example, numbness in the penis and testicles can indicate a herniated disc at levels S2 and S3

Numbness of the bottom

Using a numbness in the Buttocks and buttocks area It is more difficult to determine the exact location of a potential herniated disc because nerves from several sacral spinal cord segments (S1-S5) are responsible for the sensitive supply of the skin (see: dermatome).

A special feature on the subject of "numbness on the bottom / buttocks" is the so-called "Breeches anesthesia". This is a Sensitivity Disorders for example in the form of numbness in the Dermatoms L3, L4 and L5. The naming is based on the fact that the deafness spreads in the areas in which the trimmings of riding breeches can be found, namely on the Inner thighs, the genitals and anus. The deafness only reflects the loss of the sensitive, not the motor, supply of the corresponding spinal nerves.

Numbness in the leg / foot / toe

If numbness occurs in the legs or feet, a herniated disc in the lumbar spine should be clarified, as the skin areas are sensitively supplied by nerves from the lumbar spinal cord segments. It is not uncommon for a lumbar disc herniation to lead to numbness in the genital area or on the buttocks. Urinary incontinence or fecal incontinence can occur under certain circumstances, as some nerves from the nerve plexus of the lumbar spine (plexus lumbosacralis) are also responsible for supplying the pelvic floor muscles.

The so-called "saddlebag syndrome" is caused by nerve damage to the "horse's tail" (Cauda Equina) caused. The end of the spinal nerve roots, which extends in the vertebral canal to the first or second lumbar vertebra and resembles the tail of a horse in its appearance, is referred to as the "horse's tail". If symptoms of saddlebag syndrome occur, conclusions can be drawn about a herniated disc in the area of ​​the first two Close the lumbar vertebrae (L1 and L2).

Isolated numbness of the legs is mostly due to damage to the lower lumbar vertebral discs, as the nerves between the fourth and fifth discs are connected to the sciatic nerve and the tibial and fibrous nerves (Tibial nerve and Fibular nerve) are the main providers of the leg.
The fibula nerve also gives rise to the nerves that supply the foot and toes. So numb feet and toes and sensory disturbances in the calves indicate a herniated disc in the lower lumbar spine.
Most lumbar disc herniations are found between L4 / 5 and L5 / S1.

Read more on the topic: Symptoms in the leg with a herniated disc and numbness in the leg

Numbness in the knee

A numbness in the knee area is mostly due to damage at the L3-5 level.

If those affected complain of numbness in the knee, a Herniated disc in the L3-L5 spinal cord segment exist. The area of ​​the sensitive supply (dermatome) by the spinal cord nerves from segment L4 is the largest area relatively centrally above the knee. L5 supplies the outer part of the knee and L3 the inner area. In addition to the numbness of the knee as a sensitive disorder, those affected complain of one difficult knee extension as a sign of motor failure of the herniated disc at the level of L4.

Numbness in the shin

A numbness in the shin is indicative of one Herniated disc at the level of the spinal cord segments L5 and partly L4that take care of the skin above the shinbone (see: dermatome). The same nerves also supply the skin area from the thigh over the knee along the lower leg to the foot. The dermatome L5 stretches relatively flat across the shin, while the dermatome L4 tends to stretch somewhat more centrally across the shin area to the inside of the lower leg. Since the two dermatomes extend over the entire leg, this occurs Numbness mostly not isolated on the shin on. Rather, the sensory disturbances can be felt over the entire course, i.e. also in the feet if, for example, the spinal nerve L5 is affected.

Otherwise the Differential diagnosis of a peripheral nerve lesion clarified then the numbness, in contrast to a herniated disc, can only occur on the shin. This distinction is very important and helps in diagnosing a herniated disc. In addition to numbness as a sensitive disorder of the Herniated disc at level L5 the engine failure due to a Palsy of the foot require a classic "stepper walk".

Numbness without pain

The first symptom of a herniated disc, no matter in which part of the spine, is often pain. Sudden, severe pain often with movements or when lifting heavy loads indicate a herniated disc.

Kick Numbness with no pain on, or if the pain subsides with increasing numbness, this can be a serious warning sign. It is possible that the nerves compressed by the intervertebral disc are severely damaged or possibly already irreversibly damaged. Follow numbness without pain increasing muscle weakness or Signs of paralysis. Such symptoms urgently require medical treatment, otherwise permanent damage can result.