Bulging, herniated disc can cause leg pains

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Q. Is pain that originates at your buttock and travels down the back of your leg usually a nerve or disc problem? What kind of evaluation is done to diagnose the problem? Farrah J., Dearborn Heights
A. It is nerve irritation usually caused by a bulging or herniated disc. An MRI or CAT scan can help to determine if there is an anatomical cause. See your family physician or primary care doctor for a thorough physical exam and referrals for imaging and possibly physical therapy or pain specialist consultation.

Q. My rheumatologist has suggested seeing a pain specialist for my increasing arthritis pain. How will you help me? Randy S., New Boston
A. By providing a different approach. I would review your medical history, tried and untried medications and depending on the location of your pain, possibly recommend different procedures.

Q. I’ve been told that surgery is the only way to treat peripheral nerve injury? Are there any other conservative treatments that can be tried first? Michael R., Romulus
A. Medications are effective. Lifestyle modifications can help — especially dietary changes and exercise. If all else fails, consider a spinal cord stimulator trial.

Daniel Mekasha, M.D., is board-certified in anesthesiology and pain management. His practice, MAC Pain & Spine Institute, is at 13383 Reeck Court in Southgate. Do you have a health question for Dr. Mekasha? Submit it by email to: askthedoctor@cscmi.net.

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