How do you know if you have a slipped disc?

Slipped disc is an often-used nonmedical term that may refer to a number of degenerative spine conditions, including herniated discs or bulging discs. These conditions are not necessarily painful, and it’s possible for them to develop without the person being aware of it. Symptoms of a slipped disc are usually the result of spinal narrowing and nerve compression by disc material. In addition to localized pain, nerve compression can cause symptoms that radiate to the extremities, such as shooting pains, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.

While these symptoms can be a telltale sign of a spinal disc problem, there are other conditions that can cause them as well. This is why it is important to see your doctor for a positive diagnosis of your symptoms if you believe they are being caused by a slipped disc.

Diagnostic steps for slipped disc pain

Patients who see their doctor complaining of symptoms caused by a slipped disc can expect to follow these steps to reach a diagnosis:

  • Review of medical history
  • Questions about specific symptoms and the movements and activities that cause them
  • Physical examination
  • Diagnostic tests, such as X-ray, MRI or blood testing, to confirm the location of nerve compression or rule out other potential causes of pain

Upon diagnosis of the underlying cause of slipped disc symptoms, you and your doctor can begin to develop a treatment plan.

Slipped disc treatment

In a very large number of cases, patients diagnosed with a spine condition can find relief by following a course of conservative treatment options. The goal of nonsurgical treatment is to relieve pain, improve spinal flexibility and take steps to reduce pressure on the spinal discs. This can be accomplished through options like physical therapy, over-the-counter medication, hot and/or cold compression therapy, massage and spinal injections. Herniated discs and bulging discs can improve on their own, so by committing to a conservative treatment plan and a healthy lifestyle, many patients are able to find lasting relief.

Spine surgery can become a potential treatment option if other therapies have been fully explored without bringing the relief necessary to engage in regular activities. Patients exploring the possibility of surgery can contact the dedicated team at Laser Spine Institute to learn how our minimally invasive spine surgery can treat degenerative spine conditions on an outpatient basis. Our procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures, offering a shorter recovery time and less risk of complication.^

Find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures by receiving your free MRI review today.*