I had some tests done that show my low back pain is coming from a damaged and protruding disc. I opted to try diet and exercise instead of an operation. So far I've lost 50 pounds and my back pain is better. It does seem like a slow recovery. How can I tell if the disc is getting better without getting another MRI?
There are some tests that can be done. Your doctor can examine your movements, check your reflexes, and assess your pain pattern. Questions about what you can and can't do in the way of movement and activities also give helpful information.
It's generally accepted that if a patient feels better and can do more, it's a good sign that healing is taking place. You can trust your sense that you are getting better. Many people make the mistake of sliding back to their old ways once they feel better. It's likely they will have a relapse.
Weight loss and exercise help prevent and cure many conditions. Keep up the good work.
Liset H. M. Pengel, MSc, et al. Responsiveness of Pain, Disability, and Physical Impairment Outcomes in Patients with Low Back Pain. In Spine. April 15, 2004. Vol. 29. No. 8. Pp. 879-883.