Preparing for your appointment

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
References
  1. Herniated disc. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. http://www.aans.org/patient%20information/conditions%20and%20treatments/herniated%20disc.aspx. Accessed July 19, 2016.
  2. Herniated disk in the lower back. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00534. Accessed July 19, 2016.
  3. AskMayoExpert. Herniated disc. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  4. Goldman L, et al., eds. Mechanical and other lesions of the spine, nerve roots and spinal cord. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 19, 2016.
  5. Hsu PS, et al. Acute lumbosacral radiculopathy: Pathophysiology, clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 19, 2016.
  6. Cauda equine syndrome. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00362. Accessed July 19, 2016.
  7. Robinson J, et al. Treatment of cervical radiculopathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 19, 2016.
  8. Levin K, et al. Acute lumbrosacral radiculopathy: Treatment and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 19, 2016.
  9. Low back pain. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/backpain/detail_backpain.htm. Accessed Aug. 3, 2016.
  10. 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.