A bulging disc diagnosis should be backed by a thorough physical examination as well as diagnostic tests. One should never assume that their symptoms are caused by a bulging disc; since what appear to be bulging disc symptoms might actually be caused by another condition requiring a different course of treatment.
When arriving at a bulging disc diagnosis, your doctor will go through several steps, including:
- A review of your medical background – This involves questions about your symptoms, current and past health problems, previous accidents, past surgeries, and your family’s health history. You also might discuss medications you are taking as well as your occupation, activity level, and participation in sports.
- Physical examination – Your doctor might test your reflexes and muscle strength, as well as determine how your arms and/or legs respond to stimuli. In addition, your doctor also might ask you to get in various positions to see if certain movements cause you pain and discomfort. Finally, your doctor may press upon your spine in certain areas which can help to pinpoint the existence of spinal arthritis, a lumbar bulging disc, a cervical bulging disc, or other degenerative spinal condition.
- Tests – Once a medical review and physical examination help the doctor arrive at a preliminary bulging disc diagnosis, often that diagnosis will be confirmed with a CT scan, MRI, or other medical imagery.
If your medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests all point to a bulging disc diagnosis, then it’s likely that your doctor will recommend a course of treatments to help ease your pain and other symptoms. Initial bulging disc treatments can range from rest and physical therapy to pain medications and chiropractic adjustments.
In some cases, bulging disc symptoms do not respond to these treatments, and in those instances, surgery might be necessary. Laser Spine Institute offers advanced, outpatient, minimally invasive procedures to treat bulging discs and many other spinal conditions. Please contact us for more information and to receive a free MRI or CT scan review.