Slipped disc diagnosis

A slipped disc diagnosis can only be ascertained by a qualified medical professional such as your family physician, an orthopedist or a spine specialist, particularly because the term “slipped disc” is not a true medical term and is technically incorrect. An intervertebral disc – the spongy, shock-absorbing pad between two individual vertebrae – can’t actually slip out of place, but it can bulge or rupture. In most cases, if someone tells you they have a slipped disc, the outer wall (annulus fibrosus) of a spinal disc has torn open and released the gel-like inner core material (nucleus pulposus) into the spinal canal. If the leaked disc material comes into contact with the spinal cord or a nerve root, symptoms of pain, numbness, weakness and tingling can occur.

Treatment options

Once your physician has confirmed your slipped disc diagnosis, he or she will likely recommend a course of conservative (nonsurgical) treatments. These can include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Opioid pain medication
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Hot /cold therapy

Additionally after your slipped disc diagnosis, your physician may suggest that you attempt to modify certain behaviors or lifestyle habits that could have contributed to the development of your condition, or exacerbated it. This might include losing weight to reduce the amount of stress placed on your spine, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption to improve overall health and correcting your posture to relieve spinal stress. Adhering to these changes also can help prevent additional slipped discs or other spinal conditions from developing.

Laser Spine Institute

If your symptoms persist after several weeks or months following your slipped disc diagnosis, and you have followed a regimen of conservative treatments during this time, your physician may ask you to think about surgery. At this point, consider the minimally invasive procedures offered at Laser Spine Institute. Our orthopedic surgeons have perfected techniques to treat nerve compression caused by slipped discs and other spinal conditions without disrupting or removing large portions of spinal anatomy. To learn more, contact Laser Spine Institute.