You're likely to initially bring your symptoms to the attention of your family doctor. He or she may refer you to a doctor specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation, orthopedic surgery, neurology, or neurosurgery.
What you can do
Before your appointment, write a list that answers the following questions:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Were you lifting, pushing or pulling anything at the time you first felt symptoms? Were you twisting your back?
- Has the pain kept you from participating in activities you wanted to do?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- What medications or supplements do you take?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor might ask some of the following questions:
- Do you have any pain that travels into your arms or legs?
- Do you feel any weakness or numbness in your arms or legs?
- Have you noticed any changes in your bowel or bladder habits?
- Does coughing or sneezing worsen your leg pain?
- Is the pain interfering with sleep or work?
Nov. 23, 2016
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- Herniated disk in the lower back. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00534. Accessed July 19, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Herniated disc. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
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- Low back pain. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/backpain/detail_backpain.htm. Accessed Aug. 3, 2016.
- Chronic low-back pain and complementary health approaches: What the science says. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/chronic-low-back-pain-science. Accessed Aug. 3, 2016.