HIGH LUMBAR DISC: Diagnostic and Treatment Dilemma1

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The high lumbar disc refers to a disc herniation involving the upper lumbar discs (L2-4). Radiculopathy caused by an upper lumbar disc is occasionally difficult to diagnose secondary to ambiguous presenting symptoms. Once accurately diagnosed, the treatment program is straight-forward but specific for the high nerve root pathology. A series of three cases of high lumbar radiculopathies managed with an aggressive conservative approach are presented. This case series will review the diagnostic and treatment strategies that are useful in the identification and management of a high lumbar radiculopathy. Various pitfalls in the management of these cases are reviewed, all of which may worsen the patient's clinical situation. A high index of suspicion is necessary to elucidate this entity.

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