Which physical findings are characteristic of lumbar disc disease?

Updated: Sep 25, 2018
  • Author: Kamran Sahrakar, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Brian H Kopell, MD  more...
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Answer

On examination, patients may be neurologically normal, may have a profound radiculopathy, or may even demonstrate a cauda equina syndrome. A positive straight-leg raising sign is almost always present. However, a crossed straight-leg raising sign may be even more predictive of a lumbar disc herniation (lumbar disc disease). The back may appear scoliotic. Gait is often abnormal. Muscle weakness may be revealed particularly when testing walking on heels and toes.


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