How Can I Tell if my Back Has a Ruptured Disc?

By: Dr. Jerry Lewis


A ruptured disc can cause serious back pain, weakness, and numbness that extends to your extremities. If you think you have a ruptured disc, it's important to see a pain specialist as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Dr. Jerry Lewis may recommend a discogram when methods like an MRI or CT scan fail to provide a clear picture of your health. Lewis Pain & Physical Medicine is proud to offer top-tier discogram technology to patients in the area. Call our Frisco, TX office to schedule an appointment and see if a discogram is right for your needs.

What causes a ruptured disc?

The spine is made up of small vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other. These bones are connected by ligaments and muscles, and between the vertebrae are spinal discs. The discs are natural shock absorbers for the spine, and they allow the spine to move freely.

Discs have a tough outer layer and a soft inner layer. Over time, the outer layer begins to wear down, causing the inner layer to bulge out. This is called a ruptured or herniated disc.

A ruptured disc can occur due to:

  • Age-related wear and tear
  • Injury or trauma
  • Sudden movement or twist

What are the symptoms of a ruptured disc?

A ruptured disc can cause symptoms that range from mild to debilitating. The most common include:

  • Back pain
  • Arm or leg pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Weakness

People with a herniated disc have problems with their range of motion, or cannot walk or stand for long periods due to pain or numbness in the extremities. A pain specialist in Frisco, TX can administer a diagnostic test called a discogram to examine the area and understand the cause of your pain.

How is a ruptured disc diagnosed?

Dr. Lewis may review your history and ask about your symptoms before moving forward with a discogram. He begins the process by injecting a dye into the affected disc, which makes the disc more visible on an x-ray. We use these images to assess the dye pattern and look for any damage before making a diagnosis.

When to get a discogram

Since a discogram can be considered invasive, we may recommend an MRI or CT scan first. If those tests do not provide enough information to make an accurate diagnosis, a discogram could help. Rest assured that Dr. Lewis uses a sedative and local anesthetic to minimize any discomfort during the procedure.

How is a ruptured disc treated?

The treatment for a herniated disc varies depending on the severity of your symptoms. For some people, over-the-counter pain medications and ice or heat therapy may relieve back pain. Others need physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the spine. Dr. Lewis can work with you to develop a custom treatment plan.

Live free from back pain

Any form of pain should not be normalized or taken lightly. If you experience back pain or symptoms like numbness and weakness, don't wait to get help from a trusted professional. Lewis Pain & Physical Medicine offers state-of-the-art technologies to patients in Frisco, TX. Pain specialist Dr. Jerry Lewis understands the importance of an accurate diagnosis and custom treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.