Here at The Back Pain Center, our most common patient is for….back pain! We see countless patients every day that present to our office with some form of back pain and more particularly low back pain. There can be dozens of drivers of back pain but one that is more common is from the disc. The disc is essentially the material between each vertebra in your back and allows your spine more freedom of movement and helps support the vertebrae as a unit.
The question arises, how do we differentiate between muscle aches and pains, sacroiliac pain, SI joint dysfunction, sprains and strains, and disc herniations?
When a disc is affecting the spine it will typically also affect the spinal cord. Disc pain can often be described as “shooting” or even “electrical”. These sensations are felt because the disc material can be touching the spinal cord which will send the shooting feeling down the associated nerve roots.
The tell-tale signs of a disc herniation are shooting down the legs or arms which can also be reproduced with a hard cough or a sneeze. In addition, some people may experience a lateral shift in their spine when they look in the mirror. If your body is zig-zagging to one side, it could be the body’s response to taking tension off of a disc herniation.
Disc herniations are diagnosed using advanced imaging such as MRI or magnetic resonance imaging. X-rays can be used to give you an idea of a potential disc herniation but soft tissue cannot be seen on X-ray.
If you are unsure if your back pain is being caused by a disc herniation, come on in and see us. There are dozens of orthopedic tests that we also use to diagnose your condition. Do not wait for the pain to get worse!