Slipped disc (herniated disc)

herniated disc diagnosis

How is a Slipped disc (herniated disc) diagnosed?

How does a slipped disc feel?

How long does a slipped disc take to heal?

How painful is a slipped disc?

 

How is a Slipped disc (herniated disc) diagnosed?

Your health care provider will begin an evaluation with a complete physical examination and medical history, including a review of your symptoms. He or she might perform a neurological exam to test your muscle reflexes, sensation, and muscle strength.

The health care provider might use certain other diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis and to better evaluate the site and extent of the herniation. These tests might include:

  • X-ray— X-rays use small doses of radiation to produce images of the body. An X-ray of the spine might be done to rule out other causes of the back or neck pain.
  • MRI or CT scan— Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans can show narrowing of the spinal canal caused by a herniation.
  • Myelogram— This is an injection of dye into the spinal canal followed by a CT scan. A myelogram can help pinpoint the size and location of the herniation.
  • EMG— An electromyelogram (EMG) involves placing small needles into various muscles and measuring electrical activity. The muscle's response, which indicates the degree of nerve activity, is measured. An EMG can help determine which nerve root or roots are being affected by the disk herniation.

 

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Your doctor may also perform a neurological exam to check your:

  • Reflexes
  • Muscle strength
  • Walking ability
  • Ability to feel light touches, pinpricks or vibration
How does a slipped disc feel?

If you have a herniated lumbar disc, you may feel pain that radiates from your low back area, down one or both legs, and sometimes into your feet (called sciatica). You may feel a pain like an electric shock that is severe whether you stand, walk, or sit.

How long does a slipped disc take to heal?

The pain from a herniated disc will get better within a couple days and completely resolve in 4 to 6 weeks. Restricting your activity, ice/heat therapy, and taking over the counter medications will help your recovery.

How painful is a slipped disc?

 The pain is a result of spinal nerve inflammation and swelling caused by the pressure of the herniated disc. Over time, the herniation tends to shrink and you may experience partial or complete pain relief. In most cases, if low back and/or leg pain is going to resolve it will do so in about 6 weeks. Symptoms of a herniated disc vary greatly depending on the location of the herniation and your own response to pain. If you have a herniated lumbar disc, you may feel pain that radiates from your low back area, down one or both legs, and sometimes into your feet (called sciatica). You may feel a pain like an electric shock that is severe whether you stand, walk, or sit. Activity such as bending, lifting, twisting, and sitting may increase the pain. Lying flat on your back with knees bent may be the most comfortable because it relieves the downward pressure on the disc.

Sometimes the pain is accompanied by numbness and tingling in your leg or foot. You may experience cramping or muscle spasms in your back or leg.

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10 common questions about Slipped disc (herniated disc)

1Can a herniated disc heal itself?
Fortunately, most people with a herniated disk never get to the point that they need to see a specialist or have advanced testing. Back symptoms usually go away on their own. Even for those who do need treatment, only a small minority has lingering chronic pain that does not resolve over time
2How long does a slipped disc take to heal?
Nonsurgical treatments Self care: In most cases, the pain from a herniated disc will get better within a couple days and completely resolve in 4 to 6 weeks. Restricting your activity, ice/heat therapy, and taking over the counter medications will help your recovery.
3How painful is a herniated disc?
The most common signs and symptoms of a herniated disk are: Arm or leg pain. If your herniated disk is in your lower back, you'll typically feel the most intense pain in your buttocks, thigh and calf. ... If your herniated disk is in your neck, the pain will typically be most intense in the shoulder and arm
4Is walking good for herniated disc?
What Kind of Exercise to Do When You Have a Herniated Disc. You don't need to endure an intense cardio program or lift heavy weights—simple stretching and aerobic exercises can effectively control your herniated disc pain. ... Moderate aerobic activities, including walking, biking, and swimming, also help relieve pain
5What happens if a herniated disc goes untreated?
An untreated, severe slipped disc can lead to permanent nerve damage. In very rare cases, a slipped disc can cut off nerve impulses to the cauda equina nerves in your lower back and legs. If this occurs, you may lose bowel or bladder control. Another long-term complication is known as saddle anesthesia
6Can you push a slipped disc back in?
A slipped disc (also called a prolapsed or herniated disc) can cause: lower back pain. numbness or tingling in your shoulders, back, arms, hands, legs or feet. ... pain in the buttocks, hips or legs if the disc is pressing on the sciatic nerve (sciatica)
7Can a chiropractor fix a slipped disc?
Even if you only have lower back pain, your chiropractor will examine your neck, too, for example. ... To treat a herniated disc, your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that may include spinal manipulation—also known as adjustments—and other chiropractic techniques to help ease your herniated disc symptoms.
8Will a slipped disc repair itself?
Can Herniated Discs Heal on Their Own? You may get different answers to this question, depending on who you ask. It is true that herniated disc symptoms can subside over time even without medical intervention. ... Yes, your symptoms may resolve, but this does not necessarily mean the herniated disc itself has healed.
9Is a herniated disc serious?
A herniated disk is a common condition that can be painful and debilitating. People also refer to it as a slipped disk or disk prolapse. In some cases, it can lead to pain, numbness, or weakness in the limbs. However, some people experience no pain, particularly if the disk does not press on any nerves
10Can a herniated disc affect bowel movements?
If the herniated disk presses on nerves in the nearby spinal canal, this can cause variety of nerve-related symptoms, including pain, numbness and muscle weakness. In the most severe cases, a herniated disk can compress nerves that control the bowel and bladder, causing urinary incontinence and loss of bowel control.

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