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Can herniated disc in neck cause leg numbness?

I'm new here. I have had a really terrible month of pain, worry and fear. I've had some neck pain on the right side of my neck for some time. I'm 35 and have two small kids - I think I may have slowly injured my neck over time but then a rigorous day of pulling out these wicked vines in my backyard - I believe triggered a herniated disc in my neck. The curious thing has been the progression of symptoms. I first noticed weakness, twitching in my thumb and index finger with wrist pain, and some pain in my neck but those were the first syptoms. This seemed to get better for a few days, but then it was back two-fold - neck pain, wrist pain, feeling like my hands are clumbsy. I saw a chiro and had a few adjustments which did not help at all. I saw the dr. several times and had an EMG in late March which showed no pinched nerve in my neck and no carpel tunnel. I saw a neurologist last week - he scheduled an MRI for my neck and brain. Since seeing him, the pain in my neck has increased - my shoulders sometimes feel like they are being stabbed with a knife - and I have numbness and tingling down arms to hands (sometimes this goes away however)

But what has me the MOST concerned about all of this is that my LEGS have numbness radiating from my buttocks and down the backs of my legs - sometimes just one, sometimes just the other - and it freaks me out because everything I read says the C4-7 region is just upper body - so I am freaking out about cancer, tumors, MS etc.

Has anyone had a NECK herniated disc that impacted their legs? I just need to hear from anyone, I am at the end of my rope emotionally and physically from this.


  • Hi RunnerGirl,

    You mention that the pain/numbness is radiating from "Buttocks" downward? Is it kind of a sharp, stabbing pain at the buttocks and running downward? If so--and I hate to say this--It sounds like sciatic nerve which is the lumbar region (lower back). That's NOT to say it's definitely the lumbar, but that's a tell-tale sign. I have had lower back and neck problems (with surgeries!) for years.

    Having said that, I am **not a doctor** and just a long-time spine patient. I would mention all the symptoms you are having and maybe write them all down. Hopefully you can get a MRI of your entire spine and then you can go from there.

    Best of luck, and if you have any questions, please fire away. There are so many people here to help and I will gladly answer anything you wish. :-)

  • SDRunnerGirlSSDRunnerGirl Posts: 2
    edited 04/15/2013 - 6:18 AM
    Yes, sometimes there is pain, but more numbness, down back of leg and into calf, yesterday my heel was numb. I'm sorry you have been dealing with pain and spine issues - this is the first time for me - and its been an emotional rollercoaster. I am kind of a hypochondriac, which came out when all of this started happening. I called my Neuro today and left a VM about the numbness is legs -hopefully he will order a more inclusive MRI.
    Thanks again for your reply.
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  • summerbdassummerbda Posts: 16
    edited 04/16/2013 - 3:42 AM
    Not to scare u but this what my nuerosurgeon told me..."eventually u will not be able to brush your teeth or walk, thats when you will need surgery" this is from my neck (cervical) I all so have a daughter I carried for 4 years everywhere! Everyone said no more carrying her (which I have stopped) but I continue to get worse.?! GL
  • You're welcome, RunnerGirl. Good luck and please keep us posted. I hope things get better and again, if you have any questions or whatever you wish to talk about, feel free. Thanks for your well-wishes.......it's just 1 day at a time for me! :-)

  • Lili_InuLLili_Inu Posts: 633
    edited 04/17/2013 - 9:38 AM
    I would get an MRI of your lumbar spine. The numbness you are describing could also be from a tight muscle pinching the sciatic nerve. I am not sure if a cervical issue can cause numbness in the area you are complaining about. Good luck with your search!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
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  • I'm having ACDF on Monday for C5/6 & C6/7. I've been told that it is quite possible that the leg numbness I also have could very well be coming from the neck. Not a guarantee that surgery will help as I do have some lumbar issues in three levels, but they are considered "minor" in comparison to the cervical neck.
  • samksmithssamksmith Posts: 15
    edited 04/22/2013 - 7:35 AM
    I had a C6-7 ACDF on 3/28. Before the surgery I was having the following symptoms:
    Right hand weakness, Pain from shoulder to finger tips in Right arm, Pain in my neck across shoulder blades, Trouble keeping my balance, mild dizziness, Pain after walking short distances or up stairs in my calf and feet (more severe in my right leg).
    I have been a few weeks post op and no noticeable improvement. I had my 3 week follow up and the surgeon said this about my numbness and tingling in my right leg and neck: My neck muscles are swollen and are spastic. The disc herniation was compressing my spine and the nerve paths from it. My body is recovering and the nerves and my spine will calm down over time. I will hopefully regain all of my "normal" use of my limbs (leg and arm).
    At times it is unbearable and I can't relax, but hope is what is keeping me going. I hope that you are doing well.
  • odouglassoodouglass Posts: 264
    edited 04/22/2013 - 8:10 AM
    I also have pain/tingling/numbness down my left leg starting in my buttock region and it is my L5/S1 level that is herniated and pushing on my sciatic nerve causing all of that. I am getting a TLIF fusion on 5/1 for this as the conventional non-surgical treatments were unsuccessful. I would get an MRI if your doctor orders it and then you can get specific answers.
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • iskrageorgievaiiskrageorgieva Posts: 68
    edited 02/20/2016 - 4:38 PM
    Hi, I am also 35 with two kids, dealing with herniated discs (C3-C6, but notably C5-6) for three months. I went through just neck pain, then tingling, then tension headaches / pain behind the eyes, then neck pain, and now hand (and a bit of calf) pain. I am also a bit of hypochondriac, and am losing my mind. I have done PT, chiro, epidural, and started seeing an osteopath. I am never sure if what I am doing is helping or worsening my situation. My MRI does not show spinal stenosis, but the C5-6 disc is touching it, so in certain positions it might be denting it. I'm worried about losing my job (just started in a new role at my company, and the last 2-3 hours of sitting are unbearable). I'm also a very bad parent right now, and my husband is doing everything and getting increasingly distant :(

    Sorry, though I would vent. Seeing that this post is from a year ago, I'm hoping your issues are better or resolved. Post an update if you can! All the best,

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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