Skip to content

Back Pain Health Center

Font Size

Lumbar Herniated Disc - Exams and Tests

Your doctor will do a medical history and physical exam. If this suggests that you have a herniated disc, you probably won't need other tests.

If your doctor needs more information, or if treatment hasn't worked after 4 weeks, you may have an MRI or a CT scan.

Recommended Related to Back Pain

Understanding Back Pain -- Diagnosis and Treatment

Before a doctor can begin treating back pain, he or she may do tests to diagnose what is causing your problem. Unless you are totally immobilized from a back injury, your doctor probably will test your range of motion and nerve function and touch your body to locate the area of discomfort. Blood and urine tests may be done to be sure the pain is not caused by an infection or other systemic problem. X-rays are useful in pinpointing broken bones or other skeletal defects. To analyze soft-tissue damage...

Read the Understanding Back Pain -- Diagnosis and Treatment article > >

X-rays typically aren't useful or needed. But if your medical history and physical exam suggest a more serious condition (such as a tumor, infection, fracture, or severe nerve damage), or if your leg pain and other symptoms don't get better after 4 weeks of nonsurgical treatment, your doctor may order X-rays.

Other tests

Other tests, such as blood tests, may be done to rule out other conditions.

The following tests aren't used as often as an MRI or a CT scan, but they may give your doctor more information:

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 21, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding lower back
    Or is it another form of back pain?
    Hand on back
    Eight out of 10 us will have it. Here’s the myths vs. the facts.
     
    Woman doing pilates
    Good and bad exercises
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Use it to manage your pain.
     
    Man with enhanced spinal column, rear view
    Video
    pain in brain and nerves
    Slideshow
     
    Chronic Pain Healtcheck
    Health Check
    break at desk
    Article
     
    Woman holding lower back
    Slideshow
    Weight Loss Surgery
    Slideshow
     
    lumbar spine
    Slideshow
    back pain
    Article