Can an x-ray detect a disc herniation?
A physical exam and a history of the patient are sufficient to diagnose most herniated disk cases. Your doctor will need to identify the type of herniation, if any. This will help determine which treatment is most effective for you. There may be other reasons for chronic low back or leg pain. In many cases, patients can avoid back surgery by receiving conservative care treatments such as chiropractic care, exercise therapy and pain medication.
Before considering surgery, it is crucial to get a complete medical evaluation. Your doctor will examine your back and check for tenderness. To determine the source of your pain, your doctor might ask you to lie down and then move your legs around. To check your neurological health, your doctor might also conduct a neurological exam.
- Muscle strength
- Walking ability
- Feel light touch, pinpricks, or vibration
A physical exam and a history of the patient are sufficient to diagnose a herniated disc. Your doctor may order additional tests if he suspects that you have another condition, or to determine the nerves affected.
What is a herniated disk?
Although herniated disc is not life-threatening, it can cause serious problems for mobility and health. The primary cause of disc herniation occurs when the disc’s Mucus Nucleus is moved from its original location, causing compression of nerves and prolonged pain. Other risk factors that can lead to disc herniation include:
- Age: The discs and spine become dehydrated and sclerosis with age. disc herniation due to injury. Injury to the back, overwork, labor, and movement can cause disc herniation. Obesity can cause herniated disks by putting more pressure on the spine discs in the lumbar area. If not treated promptly, herniated discs can cause serious complications, including: Compressing nerve root, narrowing spinal cavity, and causing uncontrolled defecation. Long-term sedentary causes muscle weakness.
Can X-ray detect disc herniation?
X-ray allows you to take pictures of the outside of your body while still being able to see the inside of bones, joints, and other organs. These X-rays can penetrate soft tissues and body fluids because the X-ray machine emits high-powered X-rays. The doctor will then diagnose the condition based on these images. Dense tissues, such as bone, can block X-rays. X-rays that penetrate dense tissue will not be able to penetrate the tissue.
Can X-rays detect disc herniation by detecting disc herniation? This is a condition in which the nucleus pulposus (the core of the disc) comes out of the capsule and then compresses other organs, causing pain in the patient. Because the spine structures are less affected, X-rays can’t detect mild stages of the disease.
What’s the role of X-rays in herniated disk disease? The X-ray is limited to:
This is when the nucleus pulposus part has swelled, compressing the nerve root, causing vertebral deformity and narrowing intervertebral space. The doctor can also use X-rays to see the patient’s current spine position and identify any signs of lumbar spondylosis or cervical vertebrae. The contrast material can be injected during an X-ray to detect disc herniation.
This allows the doctor to view an indirect image of nucleus pulposus. It is possible for the doctor to see whether the nerve is compressed, overflowing, or compressing the spine cord. This is the best option for patients who don’t have access to large hospitals or medical centers, or are in poor economic circumstances. These images can be used for a temporary diagnosis.
Notes and procedure for X-rays of herniated disc
The X-ray procedure for herniated disk These are the steps:
- Step 1: Ask the patient for permission to take off any jewelry or clothing that has metal attachments. This will prevent the X-ray process from being affected.
- Step 2: To facilitate the X Ray of the herniated disk, ask the patient to either stand straight up or lie down on his side. The entire imaging process takes between 5-10 minutes. After that, the patient will receive images. The radiologist will review the images, analyze them, and then return the results.
- Step 3: If the spine is not normal, the patient should request additional tests, such as a CT scan or magnetic resonance. This will ensure the best possible results. 4.2. Notes for taking an X-ray of a herniated disc
- Women are not allowed to have X-rays taken for herniated disks during pregnancy. Because it can impact the development of the fetus, pregnant women should not have X-rays done. Take out jewelry and hairpins. They can affect the X-ray results. To detect and treat herniated discs quickly, patients should visit a hospital with rheumatology.
- X-rays. Plain X-rays won’t show herniated discs but can rule out other causes such as infection, tumors or broken bones.
- CT scan. CT scanner uses a combination of X-rays taken from different directions to create cross-sectional images that show the spine and structures surrounding it.
- MRI. Images of the internal structures of the body are created using radio waves and strong magnetic fields. This test can be used for confirming the location of the herniated disc and to determine which nerves are affected.
- Myelogram. Before a CT scan can be taken, a dye is injected into your spinal fluid. This can be used to determine if there is pressure on the spine or nerves from multiple herniated discs or other conditions.
The ability to measure the electrical impulses moving along nerve tissue is measured by nerve conduction studies and electromyograms. This helps pinpoint nerve damage.
- Nerve conduction study. The electrodes are placed on the skin to measure electrical nerve impulses and function in the muscles and nerves. This study measures electrical impulses in nerve signals, when a small current passes through the nerve.
- Electromyography (EMG). An EMG is when a doctor inserts an electrode through the skin to various muscles. This test measures the electrical activity of the muscles during contraction and rest.
Most people feel relief within days to weeks with conservative treatment, which consists of modifying activities that cause pain and taking pain medications.
- Non-prescription pain medication. Your doctor may recommend non-prescription pain medications if your pain is moderate to severe.
- Neuropathic drugs. These drugs reduce pain by affecting nerve impulses. These drugs include gabapentin, pregabalin, Horizant and Neurontin, duloxetine, Cymbalta, Drizalma sprinkle, or venlafaxine, Effexor XR.
- Muscle relaxers. These may be prescribed if you suffer from muscle spasms. Side effects include dizziness and sedation.
- Opioids. Many doctors are reluctant to prescribe opioids for disc herniation due to the possible addiction and side effects. If other medications don’t relieve your pain, your doctor might consider short-term use of opioids, such as codeine or an oxycodone-acetaminophen combination (Percocet, Oxycet). These drugs can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, and confusion.
- Cortisone injections. Your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections if your pain does not improve with oral medication. The needle can be guided by spinal imaging.
Physical therapy may be recommended by your doctor to ease your pain. You can have your doctor show you exercises and positions to reduce the pain from a herniated disc.
The herniated spinal disk portion can be removed.
Only a few people need surgery for herniated discs. If your symptoms do not improve after six weeks, or if you have persistent problems with your symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery.
- Poorly controlled pain
- Numbness and weakness
- Standing or walking difficulties
- Loss of bladder control or bowel control
Nearly all cases can be treated by surgeons with the protruding part of the disk. Rarely is the entire disk required to be removed. Sometimes, it is necessary to fuse the vertebrae with a bone transplant. Metal hardware is used to stabilize the spine and facilitate bone fusion. This process can take months. Your surgeon may recommend the implanting of an artificial disc in rare cases.
Lifestyle and home remedies
You can also try these alternatives to pain medication that your doctor has recommended:
- You can use heat or cold. Cold packs are initially effective in relieving pain and inflammation. You might eventually switch to gentle heat for comfort and relief after a few days.
- Avoid too much rest. Avoiding too much bed rest can cause stiff joints and weak muscles, which can make it difficult to recover. Instead, take 30 minutes to relax in a comfortable position and then walk or do work for a few minutes. Avoid activities that can worsen your pain.
- Slowly resume your activity. Let your pain guide you in resuming your activities. Be slow and controlled when lifting and bending forward.
- Alternative medicine
Alternative and complementary medicine therapies may be able to ease chronic back pain. Examples include:
- Chiropractic. Low back pain can be relieved with spinal manipulation. It has been shown to be moderately effective and lasts at least one month. Some strokes can be caused by chiropractic treatment of the neck.
- Acupuncture. Although the results are often modest, acupuncture seems to relieve chronic neck and back pain.
- Massage. This can be a short-term treatment for chronic low back pain.
Prepare for your appointment
Your family doctor is the best place to start. A doctor who specializes in neurology, physical medicine, rehabilitation, ortho surgery, or neurosurgery might refer you.
What you can do:
Be prepared to answer these questions before you schedule an appointment.
- When did your symptoms start?
- Did you lift, push or pull anything when you first started feeling symptoms? Did you twist your back?
- Are you unable to participate in activities because of pain?
- What can you do to help your symptoms?
- Are you experiencing symptoms that are worsening?
- What medication or supplements are you taking?
- What to expect from your doctor
Other questions might be asked by your doctor, such as:
- Is your pain affecting your arms and legs?
- Do your legs or arms feel weak or numb?
- Are you noticing changes in your bladder or bowel habits?
- Is it possible to make your pain worse by sneezing or coughing?
- Does the pain interfere with your sleep or work?
- Are you a heavy lifter?
- Are you a smoker or do you use other tobacco products?
- What has changed in your weight recently?