A herniated disc occurs when the intervertebral disc is injured, allowing its contents to bulge or protrude into the spinal canal. A herniated disc can also be referred to as a “slipped disc,” “ruptured disc,” “bulging disc,” “disc protrusion” and “extruded disc.” Studies have shown that a great number of patients with back pain have sustained a disc injury, especially if the patient has accompanying radiating leg pain (sciatica).
The diagnosis of a herniated disc is straightforward in most patients. However, it can be complicated when the symptoms or physical findings are atypical. It’s important to get a thorough history and clinical examination prior to getting a diagnosis. Usually X-rays and an MRI are necessary for the diagnosis.
Depending on the severity of symptoms and the presence of any neurologic symptoms, like sciatica or leg weakness, your doctor may recommend a range of treatment from physical therapy and medications to steroid injections or sometimes surgery.
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