San Francisco Spinal Decompression Doctor comments:
Someone asked me at the gym today "How would I know if I had a disc herniation or a bulging disc, in the neck or low back ? Can you feel it ? I had to think for a second because this is a little tricky. Typically, you would suspect a disc herniation if there was radiating pain into the arm from the neck or into the leg from the low back. This kind of pain along with weakness in the arm or legs suggest disc herniation also.
The thing is, you can have herniated spinal discs and have no symptoms at all. Or, you can have pain that radiates into the arms or legs and have normal spinal discs.
"How would I know then if I had a herniation ?" he asked, again. Well, we would have to perform a physical exam and put you through a series of standardized orthopedic tests for disc problems. We could also take some x-rays and look for disc degeneration, abnormal disc height, bone spurs, or fusion. Then we would put all the pieces together and decide if it made sense for you to have a cervical MRI or a lumbar MRI, which is the gold standard for detecting disc herniations.
"Geez, how long would all this take ?", he asked. Well, we could do everything I just described with a couple of hour long appointments.
"What if I have them ?" It just depends, maybe some chiropractic and physical therapy directed right at your problem for 4-6 weeks. If this did not work we could consider nonsurgical decompression on the DRX9000 or refer you out for medical care and surgical options.
The funny thing is, after all this it turned out he did not even have any back pain pain at all, or signs and symptoms of disc herniations, he was just curious.