Medical Disorders That Can Mimic the Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

Diagnosing a herniated disc in Jacksonville may require medical imaging tests such as an MRI, a comprehensive physical examination, and traditional x-rays. Your pain physician may also recommend other types of diagnostic tests to rule out health conditions that can mimic the symptoms of disc problems. Here are some medical disorders that may produce symptoms similar to those of a disc herniation.

Viral Infection

Certain viral infections can linger for months. While many infections cause respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms, some may only produce muscle, joint, and back pain. If you experience persistent neck or lower back pain, you might believe you have a herniated disc. After a comprehensive examination and tests to rule out a herniated disc in Jacksonville, your pain management physician may discover that your symptoms are related to an infection. Infections can trigger a systemic inflammatory response, which may be the reason for pain.


Brittle bone diseases such as osteoporosis can also cause symptoms similar to those of a herniated disc. They may include pain in the neck, arm, lower back, buttock, hips, and thighs. You may also develop numbness and tingling sensations and leg weakness. Osteoporosis often affects menopausal women, however, younger women and men can be affected as well.

Your doctor will take a detailed medical history, perform a comprehensive physical examination, and order diagnostic imaging tests to determine if your symptoms are caused by osteoporosis or a herniated disc. Treatment for osteoporosis may include calcium supplements or bisphosphonates, which can help relieve pain and slow the progression of osteoporosis. Treatment for a herniated disc may include rest, physical therapy, ice packs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or surgery.

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