What should I do if I think I have a torn disc?

If you’re experiencing pain, numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in your neck, back or extremities, there is a good chance it is related to a spine condition. If talking to friends and researching your symptoms has led you to believe you may have a torn disc and you’re wondering what to do, the first step should be seeing a doctor to confirm the diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

Laser Spine Institute believes patient education is an important part of the treatment process for neck and back pain. The following information about the diagnosis and treatment of a torn disc can help you be more engaged in your treatment and have less anxiety when you do go to see your doctor.

How is a torn disc diagnosed?

During an office visit for neck or back pain, your physician will typically begin the appointment by discussing your symptoms and reviewing your medical history. A physical examination will also typically be performed to test for range of motion and movements that cause pain. If necessary, your physician may order one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • Discography
  • Blood tests

Following these assessments, your doctor may be able to diagnose your spinal condition and suggest an appropriate treatment plan.

How is a torn disc treated?

If your doctor diagnoses you with a torn disc, he or she will most likely first recommend conservative treatments. This may include pain or anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, moderate exercise or intermittent rest. Alternative treatments, including acupuncture, Pilates and herbal supplements, may provide additional relief. Be sure to discuss alternative treatments, medications or exercise programs with your doctor to prevent further injury or other potentially serious complications.

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist for a surgical consultation if weeks or months of conservative treatments are unable to provide the relief you need to comfortably engage in your normal routine. If you have concerns about the prospect of undergoing a highly invasive traditional open spine procedure, there are other options. The orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons at Laser Spine Institute are proud to perform minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that offers patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time than traditional open neck or back procedures.^

Contact us to learn more and get a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.