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How do doctors diagnose a herniated disc?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2021 | Wrongful Death And Catastrophic Injuries

After a recent car collision, you have several injuries to sort out to build your personal injury case against the responsible party. You suspect you have a herniated disc, but how do you know for sure?

Mayo Clinic describes how physicians determine if a patient has a herniated disc. Learn which diagnosis options to discuss with your doctor.

Physical exam

Your physical exam may include a neurological exam to gauge your ability to walk, muscle strength and reflexes. Your physician may also test your ability to sense vibration, pinpricks and gentle touches. To understand the root of your discomfort, you may perform various leg motions while resting on your back.

Imaging exam

Usually, medical professionals only need a patient’s medical history and a physical examination to diagnose a herniated disc. You may undergo imaging tests if a doctor wants to rule out other conditions or gather more information about your diagnosis.

During an MRI, a magnetic field and radio waves give an interior view of your internal structures. If you receive a diagnosis for a herniated disc, an MRI helps pinpoint the location of the injury and the affected nerves.

CT scans combine multiple X-rays to build cross-sectional images of your spine and its surrounding structures. To rule out other conditions, a doctor may take standard X-rays to ensure you do not have a bone break, infection or tumor.

Nerve exam

When you undergo an electromyography nerve exam, a medical professional slides a needle electrode into your muscles to measure electrical activity during muscle contraction and relaxation. For a nerve conduction study, a doctor gauges your muscles’ nerve functioning and impulses via electrodes. Both tests help pinpoint the site of damaged nerves.

Diagnosis tests help uncover the reason for the discomfort you experience after an auto accident. Determine if you have a herniated disc or a condition unrelated to your personal injury.