Herniated Disc - Diagnosis

What types of tests and exams did you have that led to a diagnosis of a herniated disc?

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How is a herniated disc diagnosed?

The doctor will suspect a herniated disc when symptoms described above are present. The neurologic examination can reveal abnormal reflexes. Often pain can be elicited when the straight leg is raised when lying or sitting. This is referred to as a "positive straight leg raising test." There can be abnormal sensation in the foot or leg.

A variety of blood tests are frequently done to determine if there are signs of inflammation or infection.

Plain film X-rays can indicate "wear and tear" (degeneration) of the spine. They do not, however, demonstrate the status of discs. In order to determine whether or not a disc is herniated, an MRI scan or CT scan is performed for diagnosis.

An electromyogram (EMG) can be used to document precisely which nerves are being irritated by a disc herniation.

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