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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19443
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Morning, I had lower back problem last week. I went to the

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Morning, I had lower back problem last week. I went to the GP and got Dicoflex, Co-Dydramol and Diazepam. I also went to phyiso. The back to seem to be better but my right leg is now hurting. I have pain from my thigh to my knee. it might be a trap nerve, it can't sleep because of the pain. I also tried to walk from my house to the local shop, the pain was terrible. (5mins)I had to stop several times. is it possible to get a x ray done, to see the underlying problem?

many thanks

Hello from JustAnswer.

Yes, it is possible to get a plain x-ray, but it is more complicated that this. A plain x-ray can tell certain information, but it is limited in what it can ascertain about soft tissue, such as discs or whether there is compression on a nerve.

A better test to determine the anatomy including whether there is disc herniation or a pinched nerve in the spine would be an advanced imaging study, such as an MRI.

Since an MRI is a much more involved test, it is not as easy to get it done quickly. Also, since the initial management of back pain is typically the same (such as the medicines and physical therapy that was used in your case), regardless of the findings on the MRI, there is less urgency is trying to get an MRI done quickly. Therefore, it is common to first try conservative management, and then only consider whether to perform additional evaluation for those patients in whom the symptoms persist.

There typically are exceptions to most medical rules, and there are situations in which a more urgent evaluation would be appropriate. In the case of a possible pinched nerve, the symptoms that would be worrisome would be symptoms that would be worrisome that there may be significant nerve dysfunction, such as weakness, paralysis, or loss of sensation. If these worrisome symptoms are present, then there is greater urgency in pursuing additional evaluation. But for most people with pain as the only symptom, the usual approach is the conservative management and then pursuing additional evaluation if the problem persists.

Therefore, it is possible to get a plain x-ray and additional studies, but usually only when the pain is persistent or when there are worrisome symptoms.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you for your advice.. have you come across sharp twinge on the thigh. its comes and goes. would you recommend me to go to the hospital?

It is fairly common for back pain to be associated with pain in the thigh or leg. However, if it is only pain and not any weakness, paralysis, or loss of sensation, there is no urgency in being seen and it is not necessary to be seen at the hospital. It would be appropriate to continue the medicines and physical therapy that is currently being used.

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