Although it is often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a herniated disc, the most common cause is age-related wear and tear, also known as disc degeneration, according to the Mayo Clinic. The discs within the spine lose water content, which makes people more prone to tearing and rupturing them from simple movements.
Beyond the aging process, individuals may also experience a herniated disc after using back muscles to lift heavy and large objects, according to the Mayo Clinic. When leg and thigh muscles are not used to lift, the back muscles can twist and turn, ultimately causing a herniated disc. A fall or blow to the back may also result in a herniated disc injury.
Some people may not know that they are suffering from a herniated disc, according to the Mayo Clinic. The ailment can be confirmed on spinal images and X-rays, but more commonly, pain is the primary symptom that alerts people of the problem.
The most common symptoms of a herniated disc include leg or arm pain and intense pain in the calf, thigh and buttocks, according to the Mayo Clinic. The affected nerves may produce a numbness or tingling sensation within the body and muscles may feel weak, causing patients to struggle with lifting or stumble when walking.