Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

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

Emotional Aspects of Low Back Pain

You can eat a healthy diet, exercise religiously, and follow every single one of your doctor's recommendations -- but no matter how healthy or well-conditioned your body may be, at some point, your lower back is almost destined to cause you problems. For most people, low back pain is just a minor annoyance that emerges once in awhile, sticks around for a couple of days, then goes away. For other people, there's no break from the pain. When pain becomes chronic, it goes far beyond a physical sensation...

Read the Emotional Aspects of Low Back Pain 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:

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 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.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding lower back
    Or is it another form of back pain?
    Hand on back
    See 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
    pain in brain and nerves
    Chronic Pain Healtcheck
    Health Check
    break at desk
    Woman holding lower back
    Weight Loss Surgery
    lumbar spine
    back pain