Diagnosing Cervical and Lumbar Disc Herniation
Properly diagnosing a disc herniation is critical to get you the treatment you need to get back into action. The first treatment measure your doctor may suggest is taking X-rays of your lower back. Herniated discs do not show up on regular X-rays, however they will give your doctor an idea of how much wear and tear is present in the spine and may show other causes of your problem.
The most common test done today to diagnose a herniated disc is the MRI scan. This test is painless and very accurate. There are no known side effects of the MRI scan. MRI scans produce very accurate detailed images that will allow your doctor to see the herniation as well as grade its severity. An MRI scan is an excellent tool which provides baseline information about your condition. It is an excellent reference in case your symptoms worsen over time.
Conservative Treatment for Cervical and Lumbar Disc Herniation
At Harron Neurosurgery, we prefer to use a conservative treatment plan to restore the health and function of your herniated disc. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, Dr. Harron may suggest watching and waiting or an observation period. During this time, if your pain is bearable and your symptoms do not progress, modifying your activity to include rest and stretching may be all that is needed to alleviate your pain and get you back in action. After a reasonable time off from daily exercise or activities, you can gradually work up to more mobilization. The more closely you follow your doctor’s instructions, the more positive outcome you will experience.
When pain is moderate and very limiting to your daily activities, the next option is to treat the pain with a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or an NSAID. Your doctor may prescribe you an NSAID or recommend an over-the-counter NSAID to take for a few days to decrease your pain level. It is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions when taking any medication.