A herniated disc is a common and very painful condition caused by a ruptured disc in the spine. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including trauma, repetitive strain, or simply aging. Fortunately, doctors are able to diagnose and treat herniated discs with a variety of tests and therapies.
The first step in diagnosing a herniated disc is performing a physical examination. During the examination, the doctor will check for tenderness and other signs of a herniated disc, such as muscle spasms, weakness, or numbness. If the doctor suspects a herniated disc, he or she may order additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.
One of the most common tests used to diagnose a herniated disc is an X-ray. X-rays use radiation to create images of the bones, joints, and soft tissues in the body. The X-rays can identify abnormalities in the spine that could indicate a herniated disc.
Another test used to diagnose a herniated disc is an MRI. An MRI is a type of scan that uses a powerful magnet to create an image of the spine. An MRI can provide a detailed picture of the vertebrae and the discs between them. It can also show if there is a herniated disc and how severe the herniation is.
Lastly, a CT scan may also be used to diagnose a herniated disc. A CT scan is similar to an X-ray, but it uses a computer to create cross-sectional images of the body. A CT scan can help the doctor identify a herniated disc and determine its size and location.
After performing a physical examination and/or X-ray, MRI, or CT scan, the doctor may recommend further tests or treatments. These could include physical therapy, medications, or surgery.
Herniated discs can be very painful and sometimes disabling. Fortunately, doctors are able to diagnose and treat them effectively with a variety of tests and therapies. If you suspect that you may have a herniated disc, it is important to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.