Low back pain that lasts for a few days is considered the initial symptom of a herniated disc. The pain may seem to improve after a few days, only to be followed by a pained, numb, or weakened leg. The pain will often reach below the knee and into the ankle and foot. Some patients describe that the pain moves from the back or butt to the leg and into the foot. Symptoms of herniated disc may include one or all of the following:
Disc degeneration does not always entail pain for all patients. Therefore, it is a challenge for doctors to determine if the patient’s pain is caused by a disc that is wearing out.
The doctor will ask for the patient’s complete medical history and conduct a physical examination in order to determine if he or she has a herniated lumbar disc. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can confirm the diagnosis. During a physical examination, the doctor will examine the patient’s spine and may conduct several tests to pinpoint the exact cause of the patient’s low back pain: