Herniated Disc Diagnosis

Diagnosing a herniated disc is relatively similar to other forms of vertebral disc injury diagnosis. Three steps are taken in the process:

  • First, the physician will take a medical history of the patient to find out when the pain was first noticed, what the patient was doing when it occurred, if there are any other symptoms the patient is feeling, what activities worsen the pain, as well as if there is anything the patient does to relieve the pain.
  • Next, a physical examination is then performed to test muscle strength in either the arms or legs, if there are problems with the patient’s reflexes, and if there is any change in their range of motion.
  • Lastly, a nerve test may also be performed to check for normal or abnormal function.

Diagnostic Tests for a Herniated Disc

Although an X-ray will not be of much use in determining whether there is a herniated disc or not, it may be used to rule out other conditions. A CT scan may be performed, but an MRI image will provide better pictures of the soft tissue (vertebral disc). A CT scan would likely be used when access to an MRI machine is not available or difficult to obtain. Once diagnosis is confirmed, treatment may begin.

3 Primary Types of Herniated Disc

1.) Contained Disc Herniation:

The disc is considered contained if the inner material of the disc has not pushed through its outer wall. It is also sometimes referred to as a contained disc herniation.

2.) Extruded Disc Herniation:

The disc is considered extruded if the inner material has broken through its outer wall but is still attached to the disc. It is also sometimes referred to as an extruded disc herniation.

3.) Sequestered Disc Herniation:

If the nucleus has pushed through the annulus and broken away from the disc it is known as a sequestered disc.


Is There a Difference Between a Herniated Disc in the Back and a Herniated Disc in the Neck?

The only difference between a herniated disc in the back and a herniated disc in the neck is that the first will give you pain and symptoms in the neck, shoulder, and arms, while the other will present with symptoms in the lower back, buttocks, legs, and feet.

Healthy Disc Compared to a Disc Herniation

In a healthy disc you can notice that the outer wall is thick and tough. As disc degeneration starts to set in this wall will start to thin and dry out allowing for the possibility of cracks or tears. Once a tear or a crack occurs the disc can herniate as the inner materials come through and places pressure on surrounding structures.

Have you been diagnosed?

Have you been diagnosed with a Herniated Disc?

Here’s What You Can Do:

Get a second opinion or Herniated Disc treatment options online with a virtual consultation.


Visit any of our conveniently located clinics to go over your condition one-on-on.


Have a question regarding Herniated Disc We’d be happy to answer them.

Here’s What You Can Do:

Use our Pain Evaluation Tool to get a preliminary diagnosis online.


Go over your symptoms & any tests with a doctor in a virtual consultation.


Visit any of our conveniently located clinics to go over your symptoms one-on-one.

Here’s What You Can Do:

Use our Pain Evaluation Tool to get a preliminary diagnosis online.


Go over your symptoms & any tests with a doctor in a virtual consultation.


Visit any of our conveniently located clinics to go over your symptoms one-on-one.

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