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Diagnosis of a herniated disc – By Nanaimo Chiropractor – Dr. Ansel

Diagnosis of a herniated disc (either neck or low back) can be made from a thorough physical examination including a detailed history, orthopedic and/or neurological evaluation. Some disc patients will present with an antalgic gait (lean away from the side of the disc lesion), extremity pain/numbness/tingling (abnormal sensation) in addition to neck or low back pain. Muscle weakness may be present in the more chronic cases as well as areflexia (“loss of reflex”). X-rays can be helpful in identifying degenerative changes of the vertebra, but MRI’s are the “gold standard” to identify the exact nature of the lesion. When the disc is herniated in the lumbar spine (low back), and it is compressing the spinal nerve roots causing pain and numbness down the buttocks, thigh and leg, it is often referred to as sciatica.

Let’s highlight four common symptoms of a herniated disc.

LEG PAIN/SCIATICA
This pain is most commonly experienced at the outside of the thigh, the lower leg and/or the foot. Shooting pain that radiates down the leg is a common experience with herniated discs. Patients commonly report an electric shock type of symptom.

MUSCLE WEAKNESS
Signals from the brain may be interrupted due to nerve irritation. This can cause muscle weakness, usually of the ankle. Nerve irritation can be tested by examining the reflexes of the knee and ankle.

PARASTHESIAS
This is the medical word for abnormal sensations such as tingling, numbness, weakness or “pins and needles”. These symptoms may be the result of a herniated disc and may be experienced in the same regions as painful sensations.

BOWEL OR BLADDER PROBLEMS
These symptoms are important because they may be a sign of Cauda Equina syndrome. This condition is possibly caused by a herniated disc. This is a medical emergency! You must see a medical doctor immediately if you have problems urinating, having bowel movements, or if you have numbness around your genitals. All of these symptoms are likely caused by irritation to one of the nerves as a result from a herniated disc.

Traditional treatments like chiropractic therapy can be very beneficial step to an individuals recovery. Search Nanaimo chiropractor to visit our website or book an appointment.

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