It may intrigue Ontario residents to know that ‘herniated disc” is one of many terms that medical professionals use to depict pathology related to the spinal disc. Though it may be an imprecise term, healthcare professionals diagnose back and leg pain as a herniated disc while trying to accomplish the more important task of identifying the cause of the pain.
Some of the fundamental ways to do this is to review the medical history of the patient, conduct a full physical exam and order a battery of diagnostic tests. With a herniated disc, it is not in actuality the disc that is painful. Rather, the pain oftentimes derives from the nerve against which the disc is pressing. This nerve root pain, or radicular pain, may cause an unfavorable sensation that extends from the neck through the arm or from the lower back through the leg.
A patient who suffers a back injury resulting in a herniated disc could possibly receive conservative or surgical treatment. The conservative approach is generally implemented for a month to six weeks before surgery is discussed. A physician might experiment with different combinations of treatments in order to find the most apt one for an individual patient. In many cases, physical therapy helps the patient recover and learn to tolerate other treatments. A patient who suffers from function loss and severe pain without relief from the conservative approach may consider surgical treatment.
Even when patients believe that the cause of their back pain is a herniated disc, they need to seek a medical diagnosis, especially if the back injury is the result of a slip-and-fall incident or an auto accident. While professional health care treatment may be indispensable, it can also be very expensive. For this reason, the patient might also find the advice of a personal injury lawyer helpful in determining whether a lawsuit seeking damages is viable. This blog post should not be confused with such advice.