The physician will review the patient's medical history and will conduct a thorough physical exam. After the physician has a general idea of the source of the patient’s pain, a diagnostic test, such as a CT scan or an MRI scan, is often ordered to confirm the presence of an anatomical lesion in the spine. These diagnostic tests can provide more precise details regarding the location of the herniated disc and impinged nerve roots.
The primary goal of treatment for each patient is to help relieve pain and other symptoms resulting from the herniated disc. To achieve this goal, each patient's treatment plan may vary based on the origin of the pain, the severity of the pain and the specific symptoms. In general, patients usually are advised to receive traditional treatment (non-surgical) prior to undergo spine surgery for a herniated disc. If a series of nonsurgical treatments (generally four to six weeks) is not effective to alleviate the pain from a herniated disc, decompression surgery may be considered as other option, such as traditional open surgery, microendoscopic surgery, or percutaneous endoscopic surgery.