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How do doctors diagnose a herniated disk?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2022 | Personal Injury |

After a slip-and-fall accident or car collision, you may experience twinges of pain shooting along your spine. Could you have an injury to address with help from your doctor?

Mayo Clinic explains how medical care providers diagnose herniated disks. Let your physician examine you and help you inventory all the harm you suffered.

Physical and neurological exam

You may undergo physical and neurological exams. During the physical exam, expect your physician to check your back for tender spots and ask you to move your legs in various positions to pinpoint areas of pain.

Neurological exams test your ability to sense gentle sensations, reflexes, ability to walk and muscles. Your medical team may need nothing more than these two exams to diagnose a herniated disk.

CT scan

Computed tomography scans use multi-directional X-rays to build an image of your spine and its surrounding bodily structures.


Rather than using X-rays to diagnose your herniated disk or another spinal injury, the imaging test instead helps your doctor eliminate other similar conditions. Your back pain may connect to a broken bone, spinal alignment problem, tumor or infection rather than a disk complication.


Magnetic resonance imaging exams use powerful magnetic fields and radio waves to build images of interior bodily structures. If you have a herniated disk, an MRI scan may help determine its location and the affected nerves.

Nerve conduction study

Other than imaging tests, medical professionals also use nerve tests to diagnose herniated disks. Nerve condition studies measure nerve and muscle functioning and electrical nerve impulses.

You cannot risk dismissing any pain experienced after a personal injury. The right diagnostic tools help you understand how to strengthen your legal case.

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